We’re all conditioned to react to symbols. The reaction can be emotional or rational, conscious or unconscious, triggering an implicit response or an explicit one.
And that is not new.
But somehow, although we’re living in a world of symbols, representations, masks and words, where nothing is the real self of anything, but only a symbol of – somehow the pragmatic (i.e. instrumental, operational) essence of even the most innocent-looking symbols have eluded us. Take, for instance, the following painting by Piet Mondrian, an abstract painter, symbolizing something to someone. Is our conditioning to paintings as non-utiliterian carriers of meaning, i.e. as symbols remote from the practical, tool-type instrumentation, is misleading? (I exclude, of course, overtly socio-political imagery).
Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue. 1921, Piet Mondrian.
David Morgan-Mar, invented Piet, a programming language represented by cubes and lines of different size and colors, each combination symbolizing one statement or more, “Hello, World”, the program any newbie to a given language starts with, looking like this:
Piet’s “Hello, World”
Piet is more than a gimmick; it’s an eye-opener, in the sense of “Now I can see the Fnord” (“Fnords” are like tags, appearing before & after certain messages. Children in grade school are taught to be unable to consciously see the word “fnord”, but to react to it physiologically, so that the appearance of the word subconsciously generates a feeling of uneasiness and confusion, and prevents rational consideration of the subject. This results in a perpetual low-grade state of fear in the populace. This in turn perpetuates the need for Government, because without fear, people don’t need Government. Newspapers, naturally, have Fnords all over them. My adaptation to Fnord, Wikipedia). It shows us, simply, that any symbol can be a carrier of a program, activated through an interaction.
Inspired by Piet, and taking it to another dimension, one can see the possibility for a musical convention to represent a programming language, having a “Hello, World” concerto, each note or combination of, representing one or more statements. This musical convention is another eye-opener, issued from the broadcasting, one-to-many nature of music, unlike the one-to-one interaction model of a painting. One can broadcast a tune (or an image) over Twitter that will be deciphered by programs all across the backbone, and consequently whatever thing(s) will happen (I called this kind of tweet, a Twigger).
But are these programs, embedded in work of arts and tunes are only aimed for other programs? What about us? Especially now that millions of us are plugged into that global broadcasting network called Twitter. Can a tune trigger some unconscious mechanical orange in the global audience?
The wise and skeptical will certainly udnerstand that no matter what s/he knows about her conditioning to symbols, there are or there might be some conditionings that elude our consciousness. Keep your eyes, therefore, open, especially when visiting the museum…