The role of aesthetics in understanding source code
under the direction of Alexandre Gefen (Paris-3) and Nick Montfort (MIT)
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle
ED120 - THALIM
This thesis investigates how the aesthetic properties of source code enable the representation of programmed semantic spaces, in relation with the function and understanding of computer processes. By examining program texts and the discourses around it, we highlight how source code aesthetics are both dependent on the context in which they are written, and contingent to other literary, architectural, and mathematical aesthetics, varying along different scales of reading. Particularly, we show how the aesthetic properties of source code manifest expressive power due to their existence as a dynamic, functional, and shared computational interface to the world, through formal organizations which facilitate semantic compression and spatial exploration.