I must confess as I blog about this subject I am very interested in, I found Janet Murray’s text to be opaque (or at least murky) at times. It often cast references which I was minimally conscious of or entirely unfamiliar to me. I imagine many of my colleagues in this seminar who are better versed in the coming of age of computers and digital technology will likely follow her threads more efficiently.
Nonetheless I was interested in the two pronged nature of her historical approach relating humanist’s concerns and goals to those of engineers. Oftentimes these points of entry into the computing age are pitted against each other in her writing.
I am fascinated with the synergy between rigorous problem solving and engineering and the humanist-artistic experience as they have evolved the aesthetic machine space most users experience today.
As a child I was driven to understand the innards of my first computers by dis/reassembling them or experimenting with changes to their most basic programming. Now my understanding of what lies below Windows or MacOS is admittedly limited, but these days I am compelled to bend and twist the fabric of applications to create media of divergent varieties.
In one sense I understand Murray’s perspective that there is a cross purpose between those who want to occupy this space on creative, aesthetic, or habitual levels and others who wish to forge technology that finds finite solutions. What intrigues me most is the interstitial gray area which recognizes the abstractly gifted, creative vision of those engineers entwined with the practical linear understanding some artists command in the creation of media and intangible space.