Digital "meaning" is *not* the same as analog (= socio-cultural)
"meaning". It's important for digital writers - particulary those
who don't write their own interpreter programs - to recognize that
any analogy goes through a semantic ADDA conversion, which was done
by at least one program written by at least one programmer who /has/
to use a hierachy at the core of any program, just to make it work
on a digital machine. A programmer's use for heterarchies of any
kind (including heterarchies of meaning) is very limited, and making
good programmatical use of heterarchies - e.g. in parallel computing
- is considered to be in the realm of High Art among programmers.
Digital meaning arises in relation to a social/cultural frame. Code
is also social and cultural because the person writing it can not
escape his embodied knowing mechanisms (especially if they are shared
approaches). These can not be separated out from his social knowing
--- in fact these abstraction methodologies and mathematical
procedures are extensions of linguistic potentialities.
Hamilton and Bonk provide this perspective:
A computer language is a notation for the unambiguous description of
computer programmes. Such languages are synthetic in their
vocabulary; punctuation, grammar, syntax and semantics are precisely
defined in the context of a particular operating system. They suffer
from an inability to cope with autonomous expression - an essential
attribute of an organic language. The poetic of computers lies in the
genius of individual programmers to express the beauty of their
thought using such an inexorable medium. (Hamilton & Bonk, 1997,
HAMILTON, R. and BONK, E. 1997. The Typosophic Texture.
Politics/Poetics: Das Burch Zur Documenta X. Ostfildern-Ruit: Cantz
Professor Bill Seaman, Ph.D.
Digital+ Media Department (Graduate Division)
Rhode Island School of Design
Two College St.
Providence, R.I. 02903-4956
401 277 4956
fax 401 277 4966