Forty years ago, Seymour Papert, along with other computer pioneers, understood the inevitable interrelationship between the emerging personal computer, the culture that created it, and the cultures it would influence. Papert saw the potential for computers to act as humanistic “objects to think with,” devices that allow people to create micro-worlds full of expression, learning, exploration, and joy. At the heart of this vision was a simple yet robust programming language, LOGO, which acted as a lingua franca between the embodied and virtual worlds. LOGO was a language of combination, bricolage, and discovery where children could explore computation through creativity—forging their own paths.
According to the Sefer Yetzirah, a Kabbalah book of language mysticism, a ‘path’ is a unique, inner, personal route to wisdom. Different than a road or public walkway, paths are often hidden or obfuscated, forged by each of us as we discover our way through the world. Language is part of the code used to unlock these paths. Kabbalah’s combinatorial language mysticism, where the universe is created through expressing every possible combination of letters in the alphabet, is a computational system—a functional poetry that simultaneously describes and enacts an ongoing process of recombination and iteration.
Each of the five pieces included in A Path are modular, real-time, computational micro-worlds. They combine code, poetry, and language mysticism in software-artworks that meditate on the poetics and material of computation and computer cultures.