Communications, Publications

Read Me Book : About Pawsense and Brainfuck

Two featuring texts published on and in the Read_me 2004 book, about the software utility Pawsense and the computer language Brainfuck.

Pawsense by BitBoost Systems

The software utility ” Pawsense ” protects us from the irruption of nonsense. It is an avatar of the well-known ” infinite monkey theorem ” by the mathematician Emile Borel, where ” dactylographic monkeys ” are supposed to type the entire work of Shakespeare (see also the ” Monkey Shakespeare Simulator “).

Let’s consider a sequence of signs: how do I know that it has been originated by what we call a subject? This question is linked to our astonishment in front of the materiality of words: indeed, we are reluctant to conceive that the mysterious experience of the revelation of sense can be associated to some material combination of signifiers and not to some mystical enlightenment.

This issue has known a renewal with the advent of the network where words have reached a status of commodification that was unseen before, as the click on the word turned out to be the new currency unit of our global accounting. If all the cats of the world would walk on all the keyboards of the blogosphere, and spam the web, they would perturb the streamed capitalism of the “age of access”. Replace “cats” with their masters and you get the new manifesto of our times: “Humanproof your computer”.

Brainfuck by Urban Müller & al

“Dip the apple in the brew/Let the sleeping death seep through”
There is confusion in the digital world about 0 and 1. On one hand, you have the well-known bits introduced by Claude Shannon that serve as units for storing information. But before information is being stored in the form of an array of zeros and ones, there is an ACT, the one which makes the machine jump from one state to another. This act is put on stage by the classical and minimalist implementation of the Turing Machine that Brainfuck is, sort of conceptual theatre of thought. It’s only after the execution of the act, that zero or one enters the array stored in memory. Just read the famous article by Alan Turing ” Computing Machinery and Intelligence ” where he describes how a computer could play the imitation game, pretend to be a woman and cheat on the observer! You will find out that the obsessions of the founder of computer science were linked to many other binaries: true-false, man-woman, fort-da… Also remember the way Alan Turing killed himself after being condemned to chemical castration because of his homosexuality: as in ” Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs “, he poisoned half of an apple and took one random bite. Some say that this is the origin of the Apple brand.

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