What Counts as Code to Criticize? Interpreting flow control and natural language programming

  1. 1. Jeremy Douglass

    University of California, Santa Barbara

Work text
This plain text was ingested for the purpose of full-text search, not to preserve original formatting or readability. For the most complete copy, refer to the original conference program.

Sites of interpretation in the digital humanities range
from the signifiers at the software interface all the
way down to the electromagnetic phenomenology of
hardware mechanisms. Critical Code Studies situates
interpretation at the site of reading and writing source
code. These human-machine interlanguage exists both
between and prior to the hardware and its interface, often
with many other interpretive sites above (application,
OS, emulator, etc.) and below (assembly, machine code,
etc.). As interlanguage, code carry a variety of philosophical
presumptions, aesthetic overdeterminations,
and historical traces that may benefit from exegesis. But
what counts as code to criticize? This presentation considers
critical interpretation in relation to two cases of
code that differ substantially from the paradigmatic use
of languages such as C/C++ and the attendant assumptions
about the relationships between code, programmer,
compiler, and software. The first case, natural language
programming, emphasizes the expressive power of code
and its accessibility to non-programmers, while it simultaneously
risks obscuring the deep structures that
connect compiled code to software praxis. The second
case, flow control programming, uses visual spatial relationships
rather than text as the top-level paradigm for
specifying software action. Both cases expand our idea
of what aspects of rhetoric and visual culture might be
brough to bear in humanistic code criticism.

Conference Info


ADHO - 2009

Hosted at University of Maryland, College Park

College Park, Maryland, United States

June 20, 2009 - June 25, 2009

176 works by 303 authors indexed

Series: ADHO (4)

Organizers: ADHO

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None