January 02, 2008

software design as performance art

Kai Krause answers John Brockman’s question What Have You Changed Your Mind About with an interesting take on the nature of software design.

I used to think “Software Design” is an art form.

I now believe that I was half-right: it is indeed an art, but it has a rather short half-life: Software is merely a performance art!

A momentary flash of brilliance, doomed to be overtaken by the next wave, or maybe even by its own sequel. Eaten alive by its successors. And time…

This is not to denigrate the genre of performance art: anamorphic sidewalk chalk drawings, Goldsworthy pebble piles or Norwegian carved-ice-hotels are admirable feats of human ingenuity, but they all share that ephemeral time limit: the first rain, wind or heat will dissolve the beauty, and the artist must be well aware of its fleeting glory.

(That link there? To the Goldsworthy images? That’s what they call “added value.”)