Computers

Computers are representation machines that can emulate any known medium.”  Alan Kay

“Computers are the most capacious medium ever invented, promising infinite resources.” (Murray, 1997)

Computers are not only remediation of existing media such as typewriters and film, despite their interfaces (keyboards) and content (audio visuality) but also introduce new standards in data transfer, programming and storage. (Kittler, 1999:1-2)

The conceptual roots of computer technology date back to antiquity and point to the use of the abacus. Various forms of abacus used by the Chinese, the Babylonians, and the Egyptians, perhaps as long ago as 3000 B.C. In 1642, Blaise Pascal built a numeral calculating machine in Paris to help his tax collector father do his job more efficiently, but the machine was never put into widespread use. In 1833, Charles Babbage, a British professor of mathematics, came up with the idea of Analytic Engine but never seen the complete form. In 1910, the machine was build and now it’s exhibiting in London.  Like modern computers, the Analytical Engine has a processor, a memory and a way to input information and output results. In 1890, another punch card machine was designed for the United States Cencus Bureau by Herman Hollerith and James Powers who later found the IBM in 1924. Based on the necessities of the World War II, the first of the new wave of the computer was built and named as Colossus by Alan M. Turing in 1943.

The majority of historians, however, believe the peak should be counted as ENIAC ( Electronic Numeric Integrator and Computer) in 1946 at the University of Pennsylvania.“   (pg17, Carolyn Handler Miller) which is also could as a beginning of the information age. The ENIAC could perform calculations about 1000 times faster than the previous generation of computers. It could do 360 multiplication per second and 5.000 additions.

By the 1970s, microchips enhanced the capacity of computer usage. Intel introduced its first 4-bit microprocessor 4004 in 1971 and its 8-bit microprocessor 8008 in 1972. Intel introduced its first 4-bit microprocessor 4004 in 1971 and its 8-bit microprocessor 8008 in 1972.

Computers retain a vast area into their user’s lives by somehow oxymoronic way. It explicitly promotes an individualism but at the same time, it is extremely collaborative. It acts like a priorly private tool by its instant click reaches the miles away and interact with the quite a few people simultaneously.

“In psychological terms, computers are liminal objects, located on the threshold between external reality and our own mind.” (Murray, 1997)

The computer presentation would grand pleasures that are not possible to gain in the older ways of mass communication tools. This is mainly delivered from its participatory nature of the designed environments which are explicitly spatial at the same time. Laws of the spatial had been become the most visible and significant change by the means of the proximity of actual and virtual bodies with the emerging of telematic – combination of telecommunication and informatics. Under the changing circumstances of materials, habits, industries had evolved.

Participants explore and change the technology by extending, distorting, playing. They continuously bring it into new dimensions of an expressive medium.

A number of undocumented, unrepresented, unnoticed lives comes to an appearance with the advent of computers and its facilitation of connectivity. Their participation and membership became important just because giving them ability to tell their story, even if they are not erudite in the field of representation, simply people have become on screen, heard and seen. In addition, to being seen by multiple agencies at the same time, of course, this participation is what making the new space richer. What is more excited is that the computer itself documenting the intentions, words, photographs that are given by people all around the world. This is an experimental method that never been experienced before. Such bevvy subjects in such long run… many findings that never have found before… that being so, lead us to live in the technological narration that makes us wonder what will happen next.

  • Computer As Tool –  Computer is a tool for navigation, tool to generate sensations and information. Computer as a tool, as a machine can both record  and shape; give direction to people and consequently determine what is happening. Doug Englebart deems the computer as a tool.
  • Computer As Media – Alan Kay mention in his writing “User Interface: A personal View” after he read McLuhan’s Understanding Media (1964) the concept of ” the medium is the message” made him clarify with his belief the computer will reshape the entire civilization so much like the printing press.
  • Computer As Life – Evolving over time, getting better and adapting. They are operative.
  • Computer As Vehicle – By enabling the calculate and sort out the information in a  very short time, computers create a time collapse. Combineing with the techhnics of networking, just like the very fast trains carrying the passengers and objects to distant places, computers also contain and travel the bodies of informations; whether they are representations, essence, tastes, flavours, faces of the subjects or objects. Computer can be portray as a time travel machine that can travel multi directionally.
  • Computer As Fashion – techno culture and its aesthetically flavor
  • Computer As Language – Digital is the language indeed. Language aims to clear communication between agencies. “Language is, as it were, that which divides reality” Roland Barthes
  • Computer As Intelligence – Smart and autonomous +2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Computers as a extension of the Body or physical prothesis

The computers as media artifact not only carries cultural meanings like images, gestures,  music and so on but is at the same time an archive of cultural engineering by its very material fabrication.