- Hardcover: 255 pages
- Publisher: Die Gestalten Verlag (April 1, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 3899553314
- ISBN-13: 978-3899553314
- Product Dimensions: 11.3 x 9.7 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,205,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Touch of Code: Interactive Installations and Experiences Hardcover – April 1, 2011
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A Touch of Code gets it right. It's current as of 2011, and the format gives the works enough space to actually understand what's going on. More importantly, the artistic signal to self-congratulatory noise signal is very high compared to most books in this genre. Most of this stuff is art that is genuinely interesting, much of it is designed to be replicable or a long-term installation, and a significant chunk of it will still be interesting twenty years from now. For the first time, I have a sense of how technology might become a genuine tool for art with considerable impact and lasting value. In this text, they tend to be the works that use technology as tool rather than technology as subject. But like most good art, the conceptual payload includes a subtle encapsulation of the time, place, and zeitgeist that it was created in.
If you get one book on digital art, right now this is the one to get.
And yet the very first project showcased within the book didn't require a "touch" of code, but a whole garbage truck or two of code, as it is a section of the 2008 Olympic Games opening ceremony! This ain't something your standard art or design student will find useful, unless they by some miracle find themselves at the head of a national committee for an international project and are in a panic for ideas. Even that improbable person won't find this guide very useful, as there's only so much you can communicate about an entire themed segment of the Olympic opening ceremonies with what - three pictures?
Later on, there are entries detailing smaller projects, some by graduate students at leading colleges, and those seem mildly useful. However, a lot of page space is taken up by these huge, unapproachable installations that aren't very adequately explained, and many of them sport the sort of cyber-future TRON gloss that is so antithetical to the idea expressed by the book's bricolage-themed title, cover, and promotion.
Not only that, but the curator of "A Touch of Code" apparently never learned how to use commas, or what a clause is, or maybe just didn't care very much about the written portions of this text, which are, in my humble opinion, critical. The result is a series of essays and captions that are maddeningly illiterate, exhibiting all the deftness and adroitness of a freshman in a remedial writing course. Additionally, the word spacing seems to be poorly managed, with the worst offender being the strange excess of space after every instance of the word "of," which gets irritating surprisingly quickly.
This is a disingenuous and poorly made book. Skip it.
EDIT: On further review, it turns out that English might not have been the production team's first language, which is totally fine. Forgoing the space in the budget for a decent editor, however, is still not fine.