Category: Assignment-01D

David Gordon : First Word Last Word and How Hype It Is

The Gartner Hype Cycle and the concept of First Word vs. Last Word art describe the same phenomenon. If one were to put Classical Symphonic Form (CSF) into the Gartner Hype Cycle model, Haydn’s work would have put CSF on the map, at the very beginning of the “Innovation Trigger” area. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, in turn, would be the piece which finally pushed CSF into the Plateau of Productivity.

I found it funny that Virtual Reality is expected to plateau within the next 10 years. My dream and life goal, a fully immersive virtual reality which is indistinguishable from real life, is most certainly more than a couple decades away. It has been sitting within the trough of disillusionment for years and years, and I believe that it will not plateau until other technologies essential for achieving its full potential, such as the Brain Computer Interface, catch up with it. While within the trough, such technologies are quite cheap to come by, as they were mass produced during the peak of inflated expectations and are now in abundance due to lack of demand.

GHC vs. FW/LW Art

The Gartner Hype Cycle gives a sort of continuum (rather than a cycle) which contains all technologies. Michael Naimark proposes that all art is either first word art, a revolutionary idea that doesn’t follow the norms of today, or is an attempt at last word art, the pinnacle or ultimate conclusion of what is the best that can be done with a medium. As the Gartner Hype Cycle relates the use of technologies it is hard to compare the two. However, I would say that there would be a hype cycle for art as well, where first word art would correspond with the innovation trigger and last word art would correspond with the plateau of productivity.

My interests in the GHC lie in the range from the Innovation Trigger through the Trough of Disillusionment, because this is where the technology exists that is cutting edge but hasn’t yet been put to use in creative or insightful ways. Due to this, I would say that I would be interested more in first word art, as I would like to make art from technologies that haven’t been considered as a possible medium. I believe this is why Shulze prefers to work in the Trough of Disillusionment as well.

First Word, Last Word, and the Gartner Hype Cycle

The Gartner Hype Cycle (GHC) is built on the idea that a piece of technology has an ongoing life cycle. While the premise of First Word/Last Word Art (FW/LW) shares with GHC the notion that each type of art/technology has a starting point, the two seem to disagree on the idea of ending.

The closest thing GHC has to an ending is a plateau, which signifies that a piece of technology has become commonplace. FW/LW stipulates that there can be a definitive end through an object that is the best of its kind and can stand the test of time. It is possible that GHC’s “Plateau of Productivity” may be where Last Word Art makes its appearance.

But what of production? Occasionally an object can encompass FW/LW all by itself. More commonly, a way of working, whether art, tech, or tech-art, must be developed over a period of time. During this period, it is necessary for a piece of technology to pass through the “Trough of Disillusionment” before it becomes a part of every-day life. By engaging with a given technology at the lowest point in its life cycle, one accelerates the rate at which it becomes improved through the “Slope pf Enlightenment”, and commonplace through the “Plateau of Productivity”. This necessary “push” may account for Jack Schulze’s preference for working in the “Trough”.

On a personal note, I find new ways of working most interesting when they are at the “Slope of Enlightenment”: The way of working is common enough that there is significant variation, but not so common that it has developed a piece of Last Word Art, which goes hand in hand with reaching the “Plateau of Productivity”.

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It’s possible to draw certain comparisons between the Garter Hype Cycle and the First Word/Last Word Models. One could say that the First Word appears at the Innovation Trigger, and the Last Word can only come to be once the Plateau has been reached. However, the Hype Cycle applies specifically to disciplines, while FW/LW can apply to much more compact things, like ideas or techniques. there no space on the Hype Cycle for Hunter S Thompson, but he fulfils both halves of FW/LW in the field of Gonzo Journalism.

Personally, I feel drawn to the spaces after the initial hype of an idea has died, because then there remains a living progressive dialogue, which I find more interesting and useful. There is also none of the Hype’s manic speed here.

Schulze himself notes that working in the Trough of Disillusionment is a good choice financially, since the technology has already been developed and over-produced. He just needs to figure out what to do with it. However, there is also a certain romantic draw to this space, this graveyard of concepts where somebody could resurrect an idea and make it into something truly great.

First Word, Last Word and Hype

When a technology or a type of art is introduced, Naimark writes, people are in awe and do not know how to react. On the other hand Schulze explains that people have a surge of blind enthusiasm. In the GHC the middle part is the “Trough of Disillusionment” where there is feigning interest and distrust of said technology, different from FW/LW theory where the middle part is more of the plateau, where there is art that is familiar and art that is comparable. Finally, in the art world a type of art must go out with a bang, something that can’t be compared to anything else after that, while the technologies just blend together and level off in the familiar realm of technology.

I find myself looking at the first art words and the Peak of Inflated Expectations. Maybe its the little optimist in me that likes to see a technology or a type of art at its rawest and brightest time of its life.

Schulze is being resourceful for trying to get away from the hyped up technologies. He is like any stockbroker, buy stocks at their lowest point and sell at their highest. Also, at the Trough of Disillusionment there has been enough trials to find the technology’s shortcomings, and enough hype to see what is good about it.