Abstract

This article contributes to the study of an esoteric programming language, brainfuck. It proposes a novel view that brainfuck embodies a poetic turn in computer programming, which could be viewed in relationship to Giambattista Vico's historical concept of ricorso—return to an earlier age that Vico, without derogation, identified as barbaric and characterized by the prevalence of poetic forms. Ricorso presupposes a previous existence of an analogous form of communication, which resurfaces in a transformed but recognizable shape in the current time. This article suggests that this older form of poetics is the Russian Futurists' Zaum poetry theorized by the Russian formalist Viktor Shklovsky among others.

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