Life in Code and Software (


Mediated Life in a Complex Computational Ecology
ISBN: 978-1-60785-283-4
edited by David M. Berry


Introduction: What is Code and Software?

This book explores the relationship between living, code and software. Technologies of code and software increasingly make up an important part of our urban environment. Indeed, their reach stretches to even quite remote areas of the world. Life in Code and Software introduces and explores the way in which code and software are becoming the conditions of possibility for human living, crucially forming a computational ecology, made up of disparate software ecologies, that we inhabit. As such we need to take account of this new computational environment and think about how today we live in a highly mediated, code-based world. That is, we live in a world where computational concepts and ideas are foundational, or ontological, which I call computationality, and within which, code and software become the paradigmatic forms of knowing and doing. Such that other candidates for this role, such as: air, the economy, evolution, the environment, satellites, etc., are understood and explained through computational concepts and categories. (more…)

Thinking Software

Eric W. Weisstein 
What is a Turing Machine?
David Barker-Plummer 
Turing Machines
Achim Jung 
A Short Introduction to the Lambda Calculus
Luciana Parisi & Stamatia Portanova 
Soft Thought (in architecture and choreography)
David M. Berry 
Understanding Digital Humanities
Edsger W. Dijkstra 
Go To Statement Considered Harmful
Alan M. Turing 
Computing Machinery and Intelligence
Martin Gardner 
The Fantastic Combinations of John Conway’s New Solitaire Game ‘Life’
David Golumbia 
Computation, Gender, and Human Thinking
Alan M. Turing 
Extract from On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungs Problem

Video of a Turing Machine – Overview

Kevin Slavin 
How Algorithms Shape Our World

Video shows how these complex computer programs determine: espionage tactics, stock prices, movie scripts, and architecture.

Code Literacy (‘iteracy’)

David M. Berry 
Iteracy: Reading, Writing and Running Code
Ian Bogost 
Procedural Literacy: Problem Solving with Programming, Systems, & Play
Cathy Davidson 
Why We Need a 4th R: Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic, algoRithms
Jeannette M. Wing 
Computational Thinking
Stephan Ramsay 
On Building
Edsger W. Dijkstra 
On the Cruelty of Really Teaching Computing Science
Louis McCallum and Davy Smith 
Show Us Your Screens

A short documentary about live coding practise by Louis McCallum and Davy Smith.

Jeannette M. Wing 
Computational Thinking and Thinking About Computing’

Wing argues that computational thinking will be a fundamental skill used by everyone in the world. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, she adds computational thinking to everyones’ analytical ability.

why the lucky stiff 
Hackety Hack: Learning to Code

why the lucky stiff (or _why) is a computer programmer, talking about learning to code.

Decoding Code

David M. Berry 
A Contribution Towards a Grammar of Code
Mark C. Marino 
Critical Code Studies
Lev Manovich 
Software Takes Command
Dennis G. Jerz 
Somewhere Nearby is Colossal Cave: Examining Will Crowther’s Original “Adventure” in Code and in Kentucky
Aleksandr Matrosov, Eugene Rodionov, David Harley, and Juraj Malcho, J. 
Stuxnet Under the Microscope
Ralph Langner 
Cracking Stuxnet, a 21st-century Cyber Weapon

A fascinating look inside cyber-forensics and the processes of reading code to understand how it works and what it attacks.

Stephen Ramsay 
Algorithms are Thoughts, Chainsaws are Tools

A short film on livecoding presented as part of the Critical Code Studies Working Group, March 2010, by Stephen Ramsay. Presents a “live reading” of a performance by composer Andrew Sorensen.

Wendy Chun 
Critical Code Studies

Wendy Chun giving a lecture on code studies and reading source code.

Federica Frabetti 
Critical Code Studies

Federica Frabetti giving a lecture on code studies and reading source code.

David M. Berry 
Thinking Software: Realtime Streams and Knowledge in the Digital Age

As software/code increasingly structures the contemporary world, curiously, it also withdraws, and becomes harder and harder for us to focus on as it is embedded, hidden, off-shored or merely forgotten about. The challenge is to bring software/code back into visibility so that we can pay attention to both what it is (ontology/medium), where it has come from (media archaeology/genealogy) but also what it is doing (through a form of mechanology), so we can understand this ‘dynamic of organized inorganic matter’.

Software Ecologies

Gabriella Coleman 
The Anthropology of Hackers
Felix Guattari 
The Three Ecologies
Robert Kitchin 
The Programmable City
Bruno Latour 
The Whole is Always Smaller Than Its Parts- A Digital Test of Gabriel Tarde’s Monads
Mathew Fuller and Sonia Matos 
Feral Computing: From Ubiquitous Calculation to Wild Interactions
Jussi Parikka 
Media Ecologies and Imaginary Media: Transversal Expansions, Contractions, and Foldings
David Gelernter 
Time to Start Taking the Internet Seriously
Adrian Mackenzie 
The Problem of Computer Code: Leviathan or Common Power?
Adrian Mackenzie 
Wirelessness as Experience of Transition
Thomas Goetz 
Harnessing the Power of Feedback Loops
Christian Ulrik Andersen & Søren Pold 
The Scripted Spaces of Urban Ubiquitous Computing: The Experience, Poetics, and Politics of Public Scripted Space
B.J. Fogg, Gregory Cuellar, and David Danielson 
Motivating, Influencing, and Persuading Users
Alexander R. Galloway 
“Deleuze and Computers” – Alexander R. Galloway

“Deleuze and Computers” – a lecture by Alexander R. Galloway at the W.E.B. Du Bois Library at the University of Massachusetts Amherst on December 2nd, 2011.

Gary Wolf 
The Quantified Self

The notion of using computational devices in everyday life to record everything about you.

Gary Kovacs 
Tracking the Trackers

As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you.

Michael Najjar 
How Art Envisions Our Future

Data, information, computation, and technology mediated through art


A ‘Frozen’ PDF Version of this Living Book

Download a ‘frozen’ PDF version of this book as it appeared on 13th July 2012