How to make sense of the world of Code as a CODA

‘In societies where, modern conditions of production prevail, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived is now merely represented in the distance. ‘ (Debord 2002)

It is an unwitting paradox and we find ourselves in the eye of the trifecta looking out. Into the 4th wall. We peer through a black mirror, rectangular framed perceptions, of haptic sight. It seems as though we have attuned our perception to receive the algorithms as form of measurement. The algorithm only exists in our doing of it. And the automation now lies in the fact that it introduces another paradox. This is because the algorithm has now its existence in the doing of us. We consume and create. Has anything ever really changed?

A feeling of uncertainty stems from the paradox of isolation in this global society. I had a primary question about Sign Language as a visual language and I wanted to secure an understanding of where it placed itself within the larger discourse of visual languages. I thought that, if I could place it somewhere in the mapping of this visual culture I belong to today, I would make better sense of it. Needless to say that the visual cultural discourses that surround my experience, are simply confusing to me.

I called towards an ecosystem of perception as a means of decolonial practice and critique. I claim that it is a current way of engaging the world, considering the implications of the inextricable influence, that the role Digital Information Technology (DIT) has had, on our discourse and behaviour and gesture. Art is not linear, the ecosystem implies that one should broaden what is included in the process of input and output, to look at it as a human and not a machine.

While I piece together the various strands that emerge from the woven networks created in the digital world, visuality as a concept has evolved and revolved around power structures. For me the power structures are entrenched in language, finding my own strength being a CODA. The term is an abbreviation, Child Of Deaf Adult, coined to group the likeness of experiences of hearing children born into Deaf households (Morgan 2008.). It conveniently fit into the word play of the digital language of coding. Inconveniently however, being a CODA has complicated my understanding of code. I cannot seem to separate, language as a visual creation of meaning, and the creation of meaning through visuality.

Since communication in Sign Language relies heavily on visual interaction. The gap that is immediately prevalent is the large space between bodies created by the limitations of the digital platforms. Also marking the image as a form of language that implies gesture as opposed to a witnessing of gesture. To see, is no longer the stronghold of what it means to witness. Choosing to look at the representation of reality as an illusion, and thus, the reality is an illusion of representation.

Marks points out the relationship of the sign to reality. My question of language as a visual creation of meaning, and the creation of meaning through visuality, is a question of duality. Marks questions the same duality through the sign and reality. She approaches it with the electron and the code of electronic imaging. The physical and the virtual approximating reality into information (Marks 2002).

Language is not always purely symbolic because gesture is not always symbolic. The body is language. If we interrogate the effect of action we have moved beyond gesture itself into the symbolic realm of understanding language. We have moved into performance and perhaps performance is the network, or apparatus, binding the symbolic to the direct.

My previous projects involving installations, that I called machines, are symbiotic. I want to develop many machines. The machine begins out of a question and then brings itself to fruition through process.


If we are resilient to trauma, how do we become resilient to survival? I created a healing machine that used wounds as a way of letting light into dark spaces. The light emphasized the wounds and simultaneously created an image. The image was a network. Much like a neural pathway. 

If words can plant a seed in our minds , then how do we make mind seeds grow? I created a growing machine, that incubated a book. The book could grow because of the seeds embedded in its paper. The machine produced a Digital Seed, a USB art object containing instructions for growing.

The following machine and symbiote will ask a new question and a set of processes will reveal the machine. I am curious to know what it will be. I propose to find out.

;إن شاء الله