definitions and approaches

code aesthetics

aesthetic of the frustration (in which the reader can not know everything) SKILL aesthetic of the XXX (sublime? demiurgic? clarity) in which the reader can know everything. SIMPLICITY aesthetic of the absurd (perl poetry, code poetry), in which the writer, reader and symbol system used all create new layers of meaning through their entanglements IMAGINATION

code is a summarizing art, just like poetry source

Matthew Fuller, in Software Studies, on Elegance:

“In Literate Programming, Donald Knuth suggests that the best programs can be said to possess the quality of elegance. Elegance is defined by four criteria: the leanness of the code; the clarity with which the problem is defined; spareness of use of resources such as time and processor cycles; and, implementation in the most suitable language on the most suitable system for its execution.

beauty as a lack of ambiguity, as efficient achievement of an aim (aim of frustration/clarity/imagination)

whether or not the computer understands is not an aesthetic problem, but an engineering problem.

general aesthetics

sensation, perception > how does it make us feel? a poetics of beautiful code -> what is beautiful code? an aesthetics of beautiful code -> how is code beautiful?

an object with aesthetic properties is an objects that makes something (a sensation? a feeling?) happen. how it happens, is an open question: it can happen through sensation, through emotions, through intellect/concept






aesthetics are somewhat isolating, but at the same time connecting. it isolates from the immediate, and then connects to the indirect

poetry questions our approach to (natural/machine) language (through what? interactivity? sound? color? typography? …mental structures). By proposing novel approaches, it is both obfuscating and clearing, then.

literature is the aesthetic usage of written language (trésor de la langue francaise)

this is where I would disagree: literature is not the only aesthetic usage of the written language

case in point: “In general, when a thing becomes useful, it ceases to be beautiful” -Théophile Gauthier, Préface des premières poésies, 1832. This is the exact opposite: code becomes beautiful because it is useful.

“In the discourse of semiotics, recurrent features of form and style within the various expressive arts (poetry, drama, painting, sculpture, music, etc.) or expressive and poetic functions (sometimes termed aesthetic functions) which may be evoked within any kind of text. These tend to celebrate connotation and diversity of interpretation in contrast to logical or scientific codes which seek to suppress these values. See also communicative functions.” - source

not super relevant

adorno - the form of the phonograph record: the artwork only holds “truth-content”, has fragments of true language once life has left it. it is, in a sense a threat to life/a judgment upon life.

applied aesthetics, particularly on education, see chap. 11 of understanding curriculum, but overall not super relevant


art works to shape our basic sense of what is and what matters in all of life (heidegger)

linguistic -> language vs. poetics -> discourse

is about understanding coherence, about understanding structure, and understanding pre-existing patterns (if poetics are prototypes, aesthetics are instances, maybe interfaces). it “an internal theory of literature”, a conjuction of categories, but also a general direction from an author (not sure how that is different from the aesthetics?)

poetics will be called upon to elaborate a theory of description that will bring to light not only what all descriptions have in common but also what permits them to remain different (todorov) - but it must also provide instruments to identify such occurences of, here, a description



“The aesthetics of architecture, by itself, spans traditional issues mooted in philosophy of art, as well as aesthetics of the everyday, and environmental aesthetics. Such traditional issues include the nature of the work; the possibility of classes, kinds, or types in the domain; the character and roles of representation, intentionality, and expression; and the warranted foundations for criticism.”

In distinct progressive and utopian traditions in architectural thought (Eaton 2002), advancement of social utility is a central motivation in architectural attempts to realize idealistic visions of modes of living and societal organization.