Light Pattern: Writing Code with Photographs






  • This paper explores the author’s Light Pattern project, a programming language where code is written with photographs rather than text. Light Pattern explores programming languages as the most direct conduit between human thinking and machine logic. It emphasizes the nuance, tone and personal style inherent in all code. It also creates an algorithmic photography structured by the programs one writes, but not ultimately computer-generated. The paper looks at connections to both hobbyist/hacker culture (specifically esolangs) and to art-historical impulses and movements such as Fluxus and Oulipo.


  • 1. Nick Montfort, “Obfuscated Code,” in Software Studies, ed. Matthew Fuller, 196.

    2. Ben Olmstead, “Interview with Ben Olmstead,”, published 12/16/2014, <>.

    3. ais523, “Interview with ais523,”, published 2/28/2011. <>.

    4. David Morgan-Mar, “Interiew with David Morgan-Mar,”, published 02/10/2015, <>.

    5. Jean Lescure, “A Brief History of the Oulipo” in Oulipo: A Primer of Potential Literature, ed. and trans. Warren F. Motte Jr, p. 37.

    6. Zach Budgor, “Arbitrary Subjects Turn into Kaleidoscopic Imagery with Light Pattern,” Kill Screen Daily, published 08/06/2014, <>.

    7. George Brecht, “Three Lamp Events,” The Fluxus Performance Workbook, ed. Ken Friedman et al.,
    p. 23. Performance Research e-publication.

    8. David Morgan-Mar, “Piet,” last updated 5/28/2014, retrieved 4/3/2015, <>.

    9. Chris Pressey, “Interview with Chris Pressey,” to be published on

    10. Chris Pressey, “The Aesthetics of Esolangs,” published 6/17/2013, retrieved 1/20/2015, <>.