Making sense of what is being said doesn’t involve visualization. In fact, English gives my compatriots access to a part of their brain that’s practically picture-free. Frieder Nake will take advantage of this loophole: he will demonstrate how, in algorithmic thinking, the visible world is not the ultimate reference, but merely the by-product of a step-by-step construction generated in the brain.In other words, we are here to learn to turn codes into images, not the other way around. The trick is to hold back expectations, to curb the desire to visualize what’s about to come.In the majority of the cases, though, fluency is limited to reading and listening.In France, at the end of a conference delivered in English, no questions are ever asked.
But today English is to Europe what Latin was to the Mediterranean basin in the Middle Ages — a lingua franca.Under Nake’s supervision, we spend hours figuring out possible equations before “running” the visual interface.When we do, it’s only to track out mistakes: diagonal strokes that show up uninvited, vertical bars that have a tendency to bunch up in the margins, or horizontal ones that stubbornly ignore instructions to stay apart.They are not elated, as I am, when Nake mentions some familiar names.They keep their eyes on the prize — programming — while I cling to each cultural reference, hoping against hope that this master class will be about philosophical ideas rather than about the systematic computation of enumerable infinites.
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