Sometimes a phrase someone uses can strike at the core of your own identity. It touches on a piece of yourself that you couldn't articulate before. Nothing could articulate it. Then lo and behold — the phrase appears. Your identity suddenly opens up before you, things start to make sense.
Tom Critchlow uses such a phrase in this post to describe one of his “open avenues for inquiry.”
I’ve been obsessed for a long time with the web as a texture – malleable programming, mini hacks and flexible personal scripting. From using importxml in Google Docs to writing little apps on Glitch/Replit.
Why does this resonate with me?
Maybe it's because I came to technology from a music background. I think more in musical terms when I work with computers — timbres, improv, orchestration, arrangements, sampling, remixes, jamming, melodies — than with anything computer science related.
“What happens if these three notes sound together? And what about these two?” translates to something like, “What if my blog could connect to Are.na? What would that look like?”
The musical question doesn't beget a fleshed out musical composition. I'm usually just plucking the strings of my guitar. In a similar way, the computer question doesn't beget a fleshed out web application. What comes out of it? The computer equivalent of plucking strings — mini hacks and flexible personal scripting that Tom writes about. This is why platforms like Glitch have served me well throughout my learnings — they're perfect for this musical form of programming, this digital bricolage.
Working with computers and the web this way have captivated my attention and continue to. I just couldn't put my finger on it before. Having “digital bricolage” in my pocket scratches a 3+ years itch.