Daniel Temkin
bzzzz@danieltemkin.com

Writing

Esoteric.Codes

2011 - now (ongoing)

An ongoing research project documenting experiments in language and code, including code art, code poetry, esoteric programming languages, and other works that break from the norms of computation.

Winner of the 2014 ArtsWriters.org grant from Creative Capital and the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Honoree of 2021 Webby Awards in Best Personal Blog and Best Writing (Editorial)


The Aesthetics of Multicoding Esolangs

Electronic Literature Organization, 2020

Multicoding languages ask for code that holds multiple meanings: image as code, code as music, cooking recipe as software. Like Oulipian constraint systems, the designer of the esolang puts forward an idea, and it's the programmers experimenting with it who exhaust its premise. Over the past ten years, a new group of multicoding esolangs have emerged that learn from early pieces like Piet, Chef, and Shakespeare, refining their constraints, more aware of their aesthetic qualities.


Post Hoc, An Online Art Show

2020

Writing on the work of new media artists Lauren Lee McCarthy and Mark Klink for this pandemic online show.


Three Post-Whitespace Languages

perspektive, 2020

Three languages use the central conceit of the infamous Whitespace programming language to embrace the dematerialization of code


The Hacker Aesthetic of Minimalist Code

Hyperallergic, 2020

Ask most programmers about minimalist programming and they invoke the word elegance, yet working with extreme code minimalism often means exposing the chaotic underside of our engagement with logic.


The visual impact of sound: Glitchometry

XRDS: Crossroads, The ACM Magazine for Students
April 2018

This is the piece where I explicitly set out the constraints of Glitchometry: what I allow myself to do and what is off-limits, in order to keep the process an intuitive one.


Entropy and FatFinger

Challenging the Compulsiveness of Code with Programmatic Anti-Styles

Leonardo (MIT Press)
2018

Coding, the translating of human intent into logical steps, reinforces a compulsive way of thinking, as described in Joseph Weitzenbaum’s “Science and the Compulsive Programmer” (1976). Two projects by the author, Entropy (2010) and FatFinger (2017), challenge this by encouraging gestural approaches to code. In the Entropy programming language, data becomes slightly more approximate each time it is used, drifting from its original values, forcing programmers to be less precise. FatFinger, a Javascript dialect, allows the programmer to misspell code and interprets it as the closest runnable variation, strategically guessing at the programmer’s intent.


Language Without Code

Intentionally Unusable, Uncomputable, or Conceptual Programming Languages

CITAR Journal
2017

The esoteric class of programming languages, commonly called esolangs, have long challenged the norms of programming practice and computational culture. Esolangs are a practice of hacker/hobbyists, who don’t primarily think of their work as art. Most esolangs are experiential works; we understand the languages by writing code in them. Through this action, the logic of the language becomes clear. However, a smaller subset of esolangs make their point not through actively writing code, but instead by simply contemplating their rules. We can think of these esolangs as conceptual rather than experiential. Some are designed in such a way that they don’t allow any code to be written for them at all. By stepping away from usability, the conceptual esolangs offer the most direct challenge to the definition of programming language, a commonly used term which is surprisingly unspecific, and usually understood through utility, despite the fact that programming languages predate digital computers. This paper delves into the conceptual esolangs and looks at their challenge to the idea of programming languages.


Light Pattern

Writing Code with Photographs

Leonardo (MIT Press)
2015


Light Pattern

Building an Algorithmic Photography

International Center of Photography
2015


Twisted Glyphs

Grafik Magazine
2014


Glitch && Human/Computer Interaction

NOOART, 1st Issue
2014


brainfuck

Media-N Journal
2013

Programming languages are perhaps the most direct conduit between human and machine: here our commands translate into machine instructions. Brainfuck, a programming language created in 1993, uses this process of translation to explore the breakdown of communication and expose how computers train us to think.


Notes on Glitch

World Picture 6
2011

An off-and-on confabulation taking place between the authors for over a year—a collaborative attempt to both define and theorize a set of practices that is known by various names: databending, datamoshing, image hacking, and of course glitch art. These “notes” are not intended to be exhaustive or in any sense final, but instead represent a set of loosely organized postulates that others might revise, debate, critique or extend.

Includes gl1tchw0rks gall3ry, a collection of images by glitch practioners.


List of Glitch Tutorials

A list of tutorials for those who want to glitch themselves, rather than through tools. Compiled in 2010, and, although there are plenty of newer tutorials, these basics still work.