Qinmin Liu, the biting Dadaist artist known for trading her kidneys for Apple watches and walking across San Francisco in the hopes of establishing some interpersonal connection, is back. Her Coding Project is a roundabout attempt to address the inequities of tech and the mysterious alchemy by which long strings of ones and zeroes become the architecture for modernity (and, by extension, the basis for widening inequality here in San Francisco).
[jump] “Nationwide,” Liu wrote, “only a small percentage of people knows [sic] how to code, the majority has no ideas about programming/coding at a tech company.”
So she worked for 10 days at Twitter’s headquarters, working six days a week in eight-hour shifts. Set to Yoko Ono’s “Bad Dancer,” Liu’s less-than-one-minute-long video shows a 328-foot scroll of paper as she “codes” it, scrawling fat, blood-red digits in a manner that’s a little more expressive than the inflexible grammar of binary, and doing it while barefoot. By the end of the fifth day, the painting was complete.
“As an artist, I don’t really know what CODE is,” Liu said. “So I start to use art language to code an open up a conversation with the ‘real code,’ the technology, people who know technology and people who know nothing about it.”