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Abstract Data Types As Symbols Of Meaning

Abstract Data Types, ADT's, are at the center of Object Oriented Programming. With this model you can essentially design conceptual 'objects' virtually. In C++ these are called classes.


The interface design, the inner workings and the division of functionality between classes all need to be considered when creating a well designed piece of software - the solution to your problem.


ADT's allow us to effectively manage complexity, software's primary imperative, by breaking it down. Without it we would be forced to use an ad-hoc approach, not necessarily a bad approach but one that doesn't afford the flexibility and self documentation that ADTs have.


ADTs, when used effectively, are beautiful in their design, symbolic of the coders thought process.


They are an extension of the metaphor, a vital concept in the progression of science, maths, art and the humanities - we simplify things through metaphors, easing our understanding and communication of far more complex problems. Very similar to how we use ADTs to break down the complex into the simple.


When turning Abstract Data Types to art, could we not imbue them with moral and intellectual symbolic meaning as we do with all art? If we use them as symbols to not solve practical problems but social, political or narrative ones - what kinds of expression could we bake into the structure of our digital work?


When we can create the conditions of the material we use we enter a realm of unexplored potential.


One possible future digital art could take us...



See this book for a great education on metaphors and ADTs