ELECTIVE: Digital Environments

My elective is digital environments. The progressive emergence of digital technologies over the course of the 20th century and into the 21st is one of exponential growth. If we look back to the 1930's we happen across George Stibitze, researcher at Bell Labs and mathematician (who today is internationally known as one of the fathers of digital computers, but Im sure had he not figured it out, some one else definitely would have.) He devised Boolean logic digital circuits using electromechanical relays as the switching element. (Switching element being the word coined for the component and/or element which is responsible for the transfer of data within or across a network/s. For example, using the electron.) We could probably claim that the work Samuel Morse and his creation of Morse Code were also partly responsible. Similar code related contributions by other mathematicians and logic derived by philosophers and physicists could also be relevant. We could say that they are also collectively responsible for the emergence of the computer.

(Link to Bell Laboratories)

This topic is going to be a very interesting part of my course. Digital information is transfered, stored and understood through the interpretation of two states of an electron: positive and non-positive. Read as 1 and 0 respectively. Thats It!.

Everything in the computer, on the internet, programs, games, digital cameras, mobile phones, other small processors e.g; found in microwaves, washing machines and DVD players. All the information; images and sounds in your lap top/computer/ipod/MP3/any digital device, is just the translation of one of these two states in a sequence (or instruction?) that is interpreted and translated into understandable or meaningful information.

As it stands, I already find it flabbergasting to say the least that the elementary, ordinary matter (such as electrons) that our world is built from can and does exhibit such extraordinary behavior in living plants and beasts.

Down to the functioning of all the bodily systems that make us alive, from the mechanical and chemical digestion of food to the complexity of the nervous system and the consciousness of the brain, charge movement/shift is responsible.

Generally, what we do and what occurs naturally with electrons in the environment is astounding. Of course the creation of the digital environment that we are vaguely familiar with is not apart from this. I needn't elaborate when I remind myself (and yourself) that all things have a bad side as we can expand networks, share data, create and edit music, art and film within digital environments but it is a predominantly tremendous boon to our understanding of the world and the development of the modern culture and creativity that emerges in response to it.

I look forward to what I will be doing later on this year. Another reason why seeing the work of Field on the opening of the exhibition was so interesting. Ill be looking up some of what other people have been up to once October begins.