‘Countryside Code’

Martin Dodge – University of Manchester

Thewells Countryside code cartoons

The original country code was published in the 1950’s and illustrated by Norman Thelwell. Download more cartoons here>

The VMS DeLaval robotic milking machine promotional video. This robot now enables the farmer to use a touchscreen and robotic arms instead of actually physically milking the cow in the cowshed. In automatic milking systems, there is massive investment in changing the nature of working with animals. No one touches the cow. It becomes a machine-readable entity. Is farming a code/space? Is a cow only a cow through code?

Download Martin Dodge’s presentation slides>

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Discussion

Is there a fundamental dilemma in coding about the thing itself? Is this a particularly masculinist dilemma? And the farm space, does it not already harbour something monstrous about it?

What about the potentially ‘feminine’ aspects of free software development? What about resistance to the coding of farming?

There is a fundamental dilemma in both these papers that concerns mass production and individuation. Code in the form of software cannot carry gender? A mass produced cow cannot be purely natural in an authentic sense.

Countryside code is very much linked to State and regulation. Pigs in Ireland often moved across borders to accrue EU subsidies.