2 computadoras jugando pong

March 24, 2017 work
Based on Diego Alberti’s work “Two computers playing Pong”, this essay aims to explore the idea of a Computer Being whose only porpouse is to play videogames. Not going as deep as in the field of A.I. this concept cames from the observation of the piece, capturing some perceptions about what a computer can be when it works in an unusefull manner that doesn’t demand its full computing power, trying to find a characteristical behavior and a poetical meaning. This piece, was exhibited in the context of “Game On” (Buenos Aires, Centro Cultural San Martín, November, 2015), an experimental video games exhibition carry on by “Objeto A” art gallery. It consists in two modern computers that relies on computer vision means and arduino controlled servos to operate their respective game-pads facing each other in a Pong competition. In an interview with the artist, he propose that its founding reference is the movie “War Games” (John Badham, 1983). In this movie a computer controls the US military system. Due to a miss-hacking the computer rebels to those who create it and tries to destroy his enemy leaving evidence that in a war “no one wins” (This is the “M.A.D. mutually assured destruction” cold war concept). In the film the main character has to ensure that the computer learns to lose, finally discovering that this is only possible if the computer competes to itself. Between two exact twin computers or a computer competing to itself, having no winners in an pure logical abstract level, the game could be an eternal never ending game becoming a source of unlimited Pong generated music. The bounces of the ball in game seems to generate patterns and even two notes melodies. The only one difference appears in their mechanical capabilities: sometimes the servo can’t move the joystick so fast as the computer vision program demands making the computer to lose. But computers don’t feel happy or sad to lose or win, they just do what they supposed to be doing, they obey a human crafted program made up from a computer language. Maybe if we look into the generated log files of the loosing computer we could find a kind of sadness, some kind of computer expression that only the computer or a programmer could detect. Watching on a computer acting in a playful purpose, which requires a minimum of its processing capacity, probably we could detect traits characteristic of his nature, although created by the human with a utilitarian purpose but operating in a symbiosis that involves our evolution and the computers evolution too. Not seeking for an animistic aspect but just observing a normal home computer playing, is it possible to take these kind of traits as a computer behavior? Its algorithmical logic, their deterministic nature, even the particularities and their mechanical finishes errors. The situation taking place in “Two computers playing Pong” is an interesting case to make this kind of observations in searching of an Informatics poetry that can give us a reflected view of our behavoir or just because of the feedback between the human thought and computer logic one influences the other.  
Merlina Rañi