CODE and all of its wunders

Since the end of class last tuesday I have been full of this undeniable want, almost a need, to understand the basics of web technology.  With the Library of Babel, the Digital Millennium copyright act, and the rest of the assigned work came quite a lot of confusion which most of has been subdued. The digital millennium copyright act started off in a way that seemed to be going no where but then it started to come together.  The restrictions placed on individuals seem to be unfair and cruel.  I say unfair and cruel in a very loose terminology because the copyright act still brings me great confusion.  The first of these online readings that I looked at was My body-A wunderkammer and I found this to be quite impressive.  It seemed like a lot of work had gone into this rather mysterious form of art/literature.  This form of expression seems to be becoming more and more popular with the new day and age.  “My body” started off as something that seemed to be very confusing but, as I read more, this story started to come together.  Short stories about day to day life and unforgettable memories that all revolved around different part of the narrator’s body.  I enjoyed viewing this piece of artwork, although I often found myself moving in circles.  The Library of Babel, on the other hand, was not as interactive but equally as entertaining.

The Library of Babel basically summed up the Universe and everything else in a pretty witty metaphor where the Universe is the library.  The library contained books that basically explained the meaning of life and everything about anything.  The narrator explained that the library also had “Librarians” who continuously searched through the library for new books.  These librarians, however, were not humans; they were the creators or the Gods of the worlds.  The Library of Babel made me think of the HTML code and all the other forms of code for the online world.  The books in the library were sort of like the code for the Internet.  No one really sees the code, but it’s always there and ready to be found.  The books in life are all there, it’s just not everyday that they are discovered.  The different ways of using code and how creative it can be were all new forms of art to me.  The idea of “Coding with the Grain” and against it as forms of art were very new to myself, but almost instantly became an area of much thought and new wonder.  Change the Code, Save the Text was a very interesting webpage which was practically brand new to myself.  It really made me appreciate the difficulty in computer programming and web designing but also brought this new form of art to light.  Along with Change the Code, Save the Text, the computer program Galatea showed me the wonderful world of online intelligence.  Brought to light for me the difficulty and playfulness that goes into these digital narratives.

Galatea, at first, seemed to be nothing more than a very random paragraph floating in a world of nothingness, but, layer by layer, Galatea unfolded.  A story began to unravel but finding the next page was the hardest part.  I soon realized that Galatea would not respond to much of everyday language and I refer to everyday language very generally.  Galatea required a sort of code in order to get more pieces of the story.  Gaining a friendship with Galatea quickly became one of my goals.  I still am unsure of much of what Galatea has to say, but I do plan on trying some more.

With certain areas of the Internet come certain legal issues; the Digital Millennium Copyright Act seemed to cover just about any kind of trouble you can find yourself in online and the penalties associated with such trouble.  The Act also seems to completely contradict itself with all of the exceptions allowed.  I have never really felt any discomfort related to participating in illegal internet activities (downloading music…) and whatever else but this just eased my discomfort even more.


-billy ricketts


~ by billyricketts on January 18, 2011.

3 Responses to “CODE and all of its wunders”

  1. Your interpretation of the Library of Babel left me rather impressed. When I read the story I knew the author was getting at something, but not what that something was. After reading your blog post, the idea that the librarians were some sort of god-like programmers endlessly shuffling through incomprehensible code struck me as a pretty brilliant metaphor.

    That said I wonder why you assume the librarians are the creators of the library instead of a group of people (beings?) who simply noticed the nature of their world a began looking at the text that makes it up. Also even if they are not the libraries creators are they truly more powerful since they can analyze the books inside the universe? I do like the notion that being able to see the code is some sort of powerful ability, even if it’s just driven by base narcissism.

  2. The whole concept of the DMCA is tarnished with ulterior motives and intentional loopholes, mostly to benefit the big corporations, but sometimes to even benefit the consumers. A legal document stating that, for example, attempting to reverse engineer a piece of hardware or software is a form of copyright infringement, seems perfectly fair on paper; after all, reverse engineering commercial software almost inevitably leads to some sort of piracy. It’s when individuals get slapped with lawsuits for hacking into their own computers, as Sony recently did to George Hotz and various others for hacking the PS3, that it becomes apparent that not only is this restriction an infringement on personal rights as well as the age-old concept of “possession,” but that regulating this new world of technology cannot be left in the hands of a governing body made of, for lack of a better phrase, aging Congressmen who can’t even turn on a computer.

  3. It’s funny, I suppose, that of the works discussed in this post, I agreed more readily with the opinions on the newer pieces than those on the Library of Babel. I don’t see the books of the Library as analogous to internet code; the books are not what hold the library up, hidden from view, as inter code is. Rather, I saw the Library as a wonderful analog of the internet. The advent of search engines and answer machines points to the sheer vastness of the internet. While the internet is finite, unlike the Library, it can sure seem infinite. And like the Library, the internet is full of what can be called gibberish, while we are the sure the answer must be in there, somewhere.
    With such a gigantic amount of information, the Internet is daunting, and requires choices to limit the volume. And my body was great at representing that. Only be zooming in to small parts of a whole can the whole be understood. The choice of what tangents to follow affect the overall picture. Just a thought.

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