Esoteric.Codes researches and documents projects about language and code.

It began in 2011 as an interview series with esolangers, people who make unconventional programming languages. Esolangs are often created as challenges to programmers, who experience the work by figuring out how to write practical code in these strange syntaxes and twisted logical systems. Others constitute an avant-garde of computer science, challenging accepted definitions of code, language, and computer.

Since then, Esoteric.Codes has expanded to include other practices with a kinship to esolangs: those that study the conflict between human irrationality and digital logic, emphasize software over hardware, are open-ended, collaborative, or with no fixed final form. It includes algorithmic theater, computational poetry, conlangs, ephemeral digital performance, and the list of eclectic practices appearing at the top of every page of this site. Parallels are drawn to conceptual art, experimental writing, Fluxus, Oulipo, and other movements that cross language and logic, or language and performance. This brings together work by computational poets, hacker / hobbyists, and digital artists whose work engages with the text of code. To see how this fits together, a good place to jump in is the Sentences on Code Art.

It is currently written, designed, and illustrated by Daniel Temkin. Suggestions are welcome, please send them to feedback@esoteric.codes


“It's true that software cannot exert the power of its lightness except through the heaviness of hardware, but it’s the software that’s in charge” - Italo Calvino


Grants, Awards, Exhibitions

2015 Awarded ArtsWriters.org grant from Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation
2017 Joined NEW INC at the New Museum
2018 Exhibited at Goethe Institut, Mumbai
2018 Wrote in residence at Signal Culture
2018 Currently in exhibition in the Open Codes show at ZKM, Karlsruhe

Talks / Presentations

2011 Media Art History: Rewire 2011, Liverpool, UK
2012 dorkbot, New York, NY
2012 GLI.TC/H 2112, Chicago, IL
2013 Leaders in Software Art (LISA) Salon, NYC
2013 Notacon 10, Cleveland, OH
2013 #ArtsTech, New York
2013 Media Art History: 2013 RENEW, Riga, Latvia
2015 ISEA, Vancouver BC
2016 School for Poetic Computation, NYC
2016 CAA, Washington DC
2016 Hacking Languge: Bots, IF and Esolangs (panel), SXSW Interactive, Austin, TX
2016 Panel on Creative Coding, Adobe SDK
2016 MVR 5, collaboration between Pioneer Works and Eyebeam, Brooklyn, NY
2017 Resonate conference, Belgrade, Serbia
2017 xCoAx, Lisboa, Portugal
2017 WordHack, BabyCastles, NYC
2018 Gulaschprogrammiernacht, ZKM: Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, Germany
2018 Software 4 Artists Day, Pioneer Works