“The art term I keep hearing is code.” says Cara McCarty.
May 28, 2015
“Software is eating the world,” said digital designer Chris Maury at Pittsburgh-based Conversant Labs, who recently sold a computer vision algorithm at the auction. “The art world is the next part to be eaten.”
(Wall Streer Journal) In March, Daniel Benitez, a cinema executive in Miami, paid $2,500 for a necktie. It wasn’t just any strip of designer neckwear. Imprinted on the blue silk were six lines of computer code that once brought the motion picture industry to its knees.
To the unschooled eye, the algorithm script on the tie, known formally as “qrpff,” looks like a lengthy typographical error.
But to Mr. Benitez and other computer cognoscenti, the algorithm it encodes is an artifact of rare beauty that embodies a kind of performance art. He framed it.
The algorithm sets out a procedure for what copyright holders once deemed a criminal act: picking the software lock on the digital scrambling system that Hollywood uses to protect its DVDs. At the turn of the century, hackers encoded it in many ways and distributed them freely—as programs, lines of poetry, lyrics in a rock song, and a square dance routine. They printed it on T-shirts and ties, like the item Mr. Benitez purchased. They proclaimed it free speech. No matter how many times the entertainment industry sued, their lawyers found the algorithm as hard to eradicate as kudzu.
Now it is exhibit A in the art world’s newest collecting trend.