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Signwave is a small independent company, based in London, UK specialising in software production, but is heavily influenced by the arts. Despite releasing some conventional shareware and desktop applications, Signwave have also received attention and awards from arts organisations such as Transmediale and Ars Electronica for their software artworks.
Typically their software challenges the traditional notions of functionality and efficiency as key selling points of proprietary software, instead focussing on the role of the author/artist as a creative role. When considering the role of the programmer in the production of software, their products can be seen in a new light: that of programming as a creative expression, and of proprietary software as an artefact or artwork. This contentious issue is hotly debated, with people on both the 'arts' as well as the 'technology' sides of the argument denying the right of artist to the programmer.
To date, Signwave have released two major software artworks, Autoshop (a parody of Adobe Photoshop), and Auto-Illustrator (a similar but more advanced parody of Adobe Illustrator), both artworks being purchasable online through the distribution of serial numbers. This deliberate conflation of polemic extremes is typical of Signwave's practice, forcing a fresh consideration of the traditional values of both commerce and art.