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In the comments to my previous post
about whether you have to know code to make art with digital tools, Mark says "The way I read the [BEIGE] interview
, the [BEIGE'rs are] interested in programming because they are interested in complete control. Do you have to stretch your own canvas to be a painter? Well, if you're tired of rectangles, perhaps."
That's true--but some artists were
tired of rectangles and made their own, oddly shaped supports. An analogy I've used is the purist artist who thinks you have to grind your own pigment to paint, either because store bought colors aren't good enough or out of some strict truth-to-materials dictate. I think that applies to John Maeda--his "if you aren't programming you aren't using the computer" rap has a whiff of the purist ascetic about it. The BEIGE'rs are a little more complicated. They're pretty much admitting that the only way they can "own" the medium is to use old computers that they can comfortably hack, so there's a built-in humility or pathos factor there. Also, they're rejecting the store-bought colors not to show their superiority to us mortals,1
but because there's something innately offensive about always having to use Microsoft Color TubesTM
(or whatever) to make art. Maeda uses his dual art & programming background as a critical shield, in effect saying to artists who don't like his work, "yes, but you know nothing about the programming" and to engineers, "yes, but you know nothing about art." With the BEIGE'rs, there's no such mystification: by using the old NIntendo games as a starting point, viewers have an accessible point of entry and can intuitively "get" what they're doing.
1. Unless you're Markus Popp.