My essay “Learn to Code vs. Code to Learn” is online. Coding is an ideologically charged skill: “learn to code” is an actual injunction, and not just for designers. The propaganda around coding has not only to do with need to produce a new professional type – IBM speaks of ‘midcollars’ – but also with relocating obsolete workers and introduce emerging economies into a global production circuit. The outcomes are sometimes paradoxical. In 2019, Joe Biden addressed a crowd of puzzled miners this way: “Anyone who can throw coal into a furnace can learn to program, for God’s sake!” This is what I call learn to code.
Is software, then, the new factory? Not necessarily. Creative coding can be a laboratory, a cultural activity, and a community of practice. In this case, efficiency is secondary after all: speed (of the computer) and slowness (of the coder) coexist harmoniously. Okay, more or less harmoniously (read: debugging). So, rather than an end, coding becomes a means to learn with the computer and through it, a dialogue with the machine and with other users. This is what I call code to learn.
The essay is included in the book the book GRAPHIC DESIGN IN THE POST-DIGITAL AGE edited by Demian Conrad, Rob van Leijsen and David Héritier, designed by Johnson/Kingston, and published by Onomatopee. “Graphic Design in the Post-Digital Age” includes the work of so many friends and practitioners that I admire as well as amusing AI-generated commentary. The book can be also read in full online.
Also published on Medium.