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See also: Noise

Signal. Encoding/Decoding[edit]

This EMO entry will be about migration of information from one form to another. Information translated into different code, thus encoded. Transformation of one data set , into another and why. Where does the need to encode come from and how is encoding utilised in various ways. In life, information is sometimes encoded into images, simplified into pictograms / isotypes / inforgrams, in order to be easily and universally decoded. Creating simplicity. On the other hand, this data abundance prevents struggle, effort to get to certain things (information, music, etc.). We can name this "coolness", a subcultural phenomena connected to difficulty and obscurity. So as a counter reaction to information abundance and effortless access, communities use or borrowing from existing (rare or obsolete) systems that enable communication, to create mystification by encoding the information, so that receivers are filtered on the way. Creating difficulty.

Simplified view ---> three ways of looking into/ treating existing information.

1. Information has to be simple and easy to understand / decode. There is a tendency to be universalised. CREATING SIMPLICITY

example : isotypes, pictograms, infograms and now data visualisation and obsession hype.

2. Information needs to reach only certain receivers. Public has to be filtered, so information is encoded. CREATING DIFFICULTY / as na agent to make things exclusive

example: specific community codes. counter culture communication. oppositional code.

3. Encoding and decoding existing information as means of CREATING DIFFERENCE /a creative application of the encode/decode process - - - - to link to my self-directed research project [gregory bateson= 'the difference that makes a difference' + 'toward an ecology of mind' = bit.. difference between something and nothing (Leibniz) [charlie gere- digital culture)

Encode decode.png

appropriation as process of innovation

link with counterculture / creating oppositional codes

questioning normative signal by deforming it

Shannon comm channel.jpg

Coding/Encoding/Decoding information is the procedure defining the transformation of symbols from one set of symbols to another one.

Decoding is the process of interpreting information that was coded by someone else, or something else.

Encode means : "To translate information into code" Decode means : "To translate code into information"

Entropy is a measure of unpredictability or information content.

measured in bit, the measure of surprise.

decoding models[edit]

•Dominant : the decoder fully shares the text’s meaning and accepts and reproduces the preferred reading.

•Negotiated : the decoder partly shares the text’s meaning and broadly accepts the dominant reading, but sometimes resists and modifies it in a way that reflects their own position, experiences, and interests.

•Oppositional : the decoder is in a social situation that places him or her in direct opposition to the dominant meaning. The reader understands the dominant reading but does not share the text’s meaning and rejects the reading.

•Aberrant : the decoder is unable to take the meaning that the encoder put into the text. There is a dissonance between the cultural assumptions of the encoder and the cultural context of the decoder. Meaning that the decoder just doesn’t get it.

Link these models to the above mentioned three ways of encoding. I would link the CREATING SIMPLICITY model to the dominant and rarely negotiated decoding model. The Oppositional decoding model serves as a trigger to CREATE DIFFICULTY and result in emergence of conter-reaction. The Aberrant mode of decoding is rather unpredictable and is equally possible to be a result of any encoded input.

...the underlying notion of a dividing line between the world of the living (where distinctions are drawn and difference can be a cause) and the world of nonliving billiard balls and galaxies (where forces and impacts are the "causes" of events). These are the two worlds that Jung (following the Gnostics) calls creatura (the living) and pleroma (the nonliving). I was asking: What is the difference between the physical world of pleroma, where forces and impacts provide sufficient basis of explanation, and the creatura, where nothing can be understood until differences and distinctions are invoked?In my life I have put the descriptions of sticks and stones and billiard balls and galaxies in one box, the pleroma, and have left them alone. In the other box, I put living things: crabs, people, problems of beauty, and problems of difference. The contents of the second box are the subject of my work. (Bateson, 1980).

Oskar Fischinger's idea, that "everything in the world has a spirit that can be released through its sound." Later inspired John Cage to begin exploring the sounds produced by hitting various non-musical objects, though not sharing the idea of spirituality.

thinking about patterns, data patterns, simplifying and reducing data.

translating data into simple shapes, patterns.

transformation of patterns into frequencies /light, sound..signal/. Triggering sensations. data as -->sensation , synesthesia

--> work of Ivana Franke, Seeing with Eyes Closed and Matthijs Munnik, building Citadels: Lightscape V as part of the Dark Universe/Sonic Acts @ NASA

  • Code Languages (subcultural communication)
  • Googlability in naming
  • Code in the city (images)
  • Transforming Cities info information


  • "A Communications Primer," by Charles & Ray Eames (1953)
  • "A Mathematical Theory of Communication", by Claude Shannon
  • "Encoding, Decoding", by Stuart Hall
  • Dead Media: What the Obsolete, Unsuccessful, Experimental, and Avant-Garde Can Teach Us About the Future of Media - invited talk given by Finn Brunton, Postdoctoral Researcher at NYU, at the 2011 USENIX Federated Conferences Week, held June 14-17, 2011, in Portland, OR.