Code Societies is a 3-week session at SFPC that examines the ideological and mythological attributes of computation, concentrating on the poetics and politics of culturally embedded software. How do different platforms and processes — including algorithms, data collection, social media, networks, simulation, and ritual — yield distinct modes of seeing, thinking, and feeling, structure social organization, and reinforce existing systems of power? Through a balanced study of critical theory and hands-on making workshops, students were introduced to Python and explored poetic, playful, and powerful ways to use computation.
Code Societies Summer 2018 session was organized by Melanie Hoff and the teaching assistant is Ying Quan Tan.
And as you can see, there was no advertising. We wanted to make this magazine, and it’s still like this to this day, it’s independent of everything. It’s just texts by artists that are looking at society, and different ways of operating within that society to transform it, to change it. To give people the feeling that they can create their own visions of the future. It’s always been independent and it’s just untainted by any grants or anything other than the act of exchange where somebody buys it.
Again, these ideas from advertising had a deterministic outcome, but the same theories could be applied to quite a different outcome. The outcome that I was interested in was the idea of self-organization. Transformation in the self, or creative potential of the self, so that anybody could create their own being in relation to other people. I was interested in society. I see that there’s a richness in relationships between people, community. That was Control magazine, really. It was the idea to set up a mechanism for people to externalize models of their practice in a society, in a community. There wasn’t anything like that around at all.