Purpose Machines

Douglas Edric Stanley


I’ve had a few requests recently, asking me to write about various subjects — gaming, contemporary art, code aesthetics, interfaces, and some other subjects I declined to write about, simply because I had nothing to say. Ethan Miller wrote me yesterday to let me know that at least one of these has finally been published, namely an article I wrote for Switch a few months back, in response to the subject of their (then) upcoming issue entitled “re-purposing”.

As usual, I didn’t really answer the implied subject — artists re-purposing technology for artistic use. Instead, I more or less proposed re-purposing as the definition of contemporary technology itself, and therefore a larger epistemological issue beyond mere aesthetic concerns. Anyway, it has what I hope are some clarifications on how I read programming within the larger framework of temporal machines, and something about its ontological(ly variable) nature.