Rodrigo Tello

Last update: 2023-08-07

First conceptualized: sometime in 2020

Computingland is an environment, abstractly defined or concretely embodied, as long-lasting or ephemeral as needed, where computation happens. It's neither a computer nor a place where computers reside, necessarily. Computingland is a place where computing is spoken, understood, experienced, lived.

Computing, the act of working with information, happens all the time. We organize lists, we trace points and lines in maps to determine our journeys, we do basic arithmetic operations that are high-level forms of computing. The arithmetic can be simple, but the computation can be sophisticated. Computing can happen on a screen, on paper, or in our bodies. We can determine where the shadow of a rock or tree will hit the ground at a specific hour on a specific day of the year - humans have been doing this for a long time. We can compute the physics of our bodies and objects in motion to catch a ball in the air.

Computational thinking is not required, as grammatical thinking isn't either to tell a good story or make someone laugh with a punchy joke. Coding or programming, even though useful at times, it's not necessary. Programming and coding, the former being the act of setting rules and processes that act outside of our bodies and minds, and the later being the act of assembling sentences through specific codes for a machine or digital agent to execute, are ways to experience computing.

The land part can be as small as a room or as big as the whole world. It can be built up and torn down. It can exist ephemerally or be brought to reality when the right group of people - teachers, students, programmers, artists, explorers, philosophers, biologists, dancers - are brought into a room for a couple of hours. As long as they once again talk about and experience computation.

Computing is important because, just like science, math, literature, cinema, or art in general, it lets see the world from a different angle. By learning something new about our world, we end up learning something new about ourselves. A Computingland matters because it's essential to live in a world where we have art, computing, math, science, and poetry to imagine and create new worlds we, all of us, can live in.