Reading Response Chapter 4

Laura Schütz

Chapter 4 - Programmability & Sound Design

Chapter 4 introduces the idea that code is a medium to design. It talks about how new technologies give way to new expressions and aesthetics and how programming is artful. Somewhere in Chapter 4 it is mentioned that programming should not be learned for its own sake, but for the sake of expressing ideas.

/* Personal Statement Interlude

I studied Architecture and Industrial Design. For both degrees you don’t need to learn how to code. Nevertheless, I wanted to learn 
how to program and use it as a tool for designing. Computers (or ordinateurs, “the ones who put things in the right order”, p. 163) 
are becoming more ubiquitous by the day. Knowing how to use them to design our interactions, shape our environments and societies is 
of great importance. Upon reading Chapter 4 I felt reinforced in my theory that knowing how to code opens the door to a world of tools 
that can be used to uniquely articulate oneself.

public void expression()
    if (know_how_to_code && know_how_to_design)
        new_expression == know_how_to_code + know_how_to_design;

On page 175 the following sentence is mentioned: “Tools do more than serve a purpose – they shape our thinking. […] That’s why design is relevant in creating any tool. The choices that go into its design impact how users think about what they do with the tool and how they feel when they are using it.” How we think is very important in how we act and design our world. As a designer we try to shift between modes of thinking to be able to come up with new ideas, but also to be able to think about how the topic could be addressed from multiple different ways. Often different academic disciplines will make you adopt a certain way of thinking, since the tools used in that field require you to adopt this thought pattern. This often makes me wonder if the tools that we have designed are in fact not designed well and are gradually shaping our brains in weird ways. Knowing how to build a tool and knowing how to design a tool are two different skills. It makes me question whether established standards in programming languages and software tools match the mental models in our human brain.