1. How would you describe what you are doing in connection with design and programming?

PE: I'm glad to be included in the survey, partly because I'm not a programmer but I am very interested in the relationship between designer and digital tools, and I try to explore that in my work. So while I probably wouldn't be included in such a thing (not the usual choice) I think I'm a valid person to discuss the implications and issues at stake.


2. I'm collecting examples of studios/ projects where programming is used in cooperation with design. Examples: John Maeda @ Media Laboratory of the MIT, his students, Letterror, etc. Is anyone else dealing with the issues that are important/influential for you? If so, why do you admire them?


The designers I admire are not necessarily graphic designers, although elements of graphic design aren't lacking in their work. I appreciate designers who's work takes some kind of critical position: the architect (and artist) Laura Kurgan is someone I've talked about in the past www.princeton.edu/~kurgan/, also the engineer (and artist) Natalie Jeremijenko bureauit.org/data/. Clearly they both use technology to identify certain human or cultural situations that technology leads us towards. I don't find much of that kind of thinking in graphic design, which often seems to still be dealing with formal notions of beauty or else debating 'authorship' or 'voice' or some other very circa-1960's concern.


3. How did you start with programming, and what was the main motivation to learn it? Which language did you choose and why?
4.
In your opinion is it necessary to become a programmer if the concept of the project requires writing a programme? What are your experiences?
5.
How do you see yourself, more a designer or programmer? As a designer, do you feel some restrictions/limits of software you are using and can you give me some examples? If you are a programmer, how do you collaborate with designers? Does it influence your work in some specific way?

I'm a designer, but I want to use design to explore aspects of digital culture, so I collaborate with programmers. But I also think that the restrictions/limits of software are significantly useful, as are one's own restrictions/limits -- they set the parameters for the exploration, they also establish the very idea of transgression, the idea of extending the limits or operating somehow outside of them. In fact, although programming might be portrayed as some sort of absolute freedom, it isn't useful to think of it in that way. A situation exists and it might be explored more perceptively through programming. On the other hand it might not.

6. Self-made programs seem to bring a 'game' aspect to graphic design life? How did you use programming knowledge in both 'for fun' and commissioned projects? Are your projects published on the internet? If so, where? (URL)
7.
What about the computer aesthetics? Do you attempt to reconcile the contrast between the natural and technological looks of your results? How?
8.
Are you attracted to exploit the programming in order to help the computer become more 'human' or 'emotional' (to simulate our 5 senses)?

Computer aesthetics are part of the experience of technology, I don't really have any larger interest in them than that. I also don't think it's useful to be fixated with a nature verses technology polarisation -- each of these are always at work on the other, we can no longer conceive of one without the other.
I'm interested in dealing with certain aspects of digital technology, for example
the relational (I'm working on a message-board that roams around picking up posts
from all over the web) or the synaesthetic (I'm very interested in audio typography). I'm not sure if the computer can become more human or "emotional", but I would have to say that as a typographer I'm much more interested in looking at digital culture from the physical perspective of, say, writing, rather than looking at typography from a digital perspective. Although in the end -- if it's not too
obvious to say this -- the mutualities between us (human?) and our computers
(technology?) are what interests me, not the computer itself.


9.
Can everyone learn how to create a programme? python.org gives the programming language and manuals for free for anyone interested…
10. Will you be developing your programming knowledge in your future practice? Do you have any plans in relation to the 'D + P' issues?

I don't know. Since September 11, the American and European press have been
quick to identify a shift away from the usual technological optimism, and I must
say the Wired-school of American techno-evangelism/technophilia has always been
hard to take. But as with the people I referred to earlier -- Kurgan, Jeremijenko, etc -- what will always remain important and valuable are the interplays, between us and machines, between physical and virtual, between low and high tech, between the functional and the poetic, or the interactive and the reflexive, and so on.
Political and cultural issues now called to our attention through world events --
issues to do with economics, social diversity, language, technology etc -- have always been on the agenda for these and many, many other artists and designers. Its just as good a time, perhaps better, to be dealing with the possibilities and implications of technology, using every means necessary to get closer to understanding our relationships with it and vice versa. Programming is obviously an essential means to do this, partly because it involves languages that help arbitrate between the designer and the computer, but also because it shows what strange combinations of the simplistic and the complex are needed to make things work.


Thanks Paul!


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