Aestheticode is a machine readable and human readable
aesthetic encoding system. It is similar in function to a barcode, except it looks like a Sol LeWitt wall painting
or Gerhard Richter's window
in the Cologne Cathedral. Its complexity is similar to that of morse code.
Its tools for encoding and decoding are free and open source. The goal is to create a viable system of semi-secret communication in the form of graffiti, design, and public art. A message encoded with Aestheticode is visually innocuous–it is aesthetically pleasing no matter what the message. The added level of obfuscation allows for the circulation of communications that might otherwise be repressed.
In its current form, the code consists of three colors (red, green, and blue) in three positions. Each combination represents a letter. For example, RRR is 'A', RRG is 'B', RRB is 'C', etc. It is simple enough to be decoded by hand.
There are two applications currently available. An iPhone app which can decode images of Aestheticode, and a Processing program which can encode messages and display them.
Near-term Technical Objectives
Matrix encoding/decoding. Currently, the iPhone app decodes only a time-based sequence of codes: like morse-code, the codes come one after another; a message can only be read one letter at a time from a video feed. We wish to be able to read a two dimensional matrix of codes, so an entire message can be decoded from a still image. This may require the addition of Hamming Code-based error correction.