hello process!

A theatre of naive computation. Hello Process!
Forty lines, forty iterations of a process. Each printed line represents one iteration. Every line consists of 128 blocks. Each block can contain a small program of up to 1024 bytes. The blocks are executed one after the other. Each program can move, copy, swap or delete any block in the file.

hello process shows a machine doing what it does best, deleting, copying and moving blocks of data. The installation consists solely of a computer and a printer. The computer functions as it usually does, as a black box theatre of processes. The only output comes through the printer, giving us clues about the activity inside, while in the background, the raw noise of the machine creates a sound scape, a sonification of this theatre of naive computation.


A file of 128 blocks is created. In this file, each block can be occupied by a small piece of code. Every piece of code has its own strategy. Some try to conquer as many blocks as possible, others simply target one specific piece of code or an unsuspecting neighbour. When the process is set in motion, all blocks are executed one after the other. This results in a battle between the file’s inhabitants. After forty iterations, a fresh file is created with a new combination of code.

Each piece of code has a special ID. This ID is sent to the printer every time the block is loaded in which the code is residing. Each printed line represents the result of one battle cycle. 128 small graphical representations of code are printed. This process repeats 40 times, creating a map of abstract patterns depicting the changes that took place.


There is some duality in this theatre of naive and nonproductive computation. We like to think of processes as actors in a machine theatre, playing with anthropomorphism and metaphors to trigger the imagination. Each piece of code has a descriptive name such as copycat, eraserhead, destroyer, or swapmaster, and displays behaviour to match. But at the same time these programs are just mechanical low level operations, totally inhuman. In the end the computer “computes” and the printer “prints” as a debug device and leaves on paper the only trace of these ephemeral permutations.


While all the code and processes are running as a white box (GPL code on GNU/Linux environment), the audience remains in the shadow side of this Wayang Kulit theatre.

source code (GPL)
technical setup and requirements