First Word, Last Word vs Hype Cycle

According to Michael Naimark, the artwork can be divided into two types of art, first word art and last word art. First Word Art, as described by Naimark, is the art piece that serves as a precursor to all other works that come after it. It is recognized and remembered because it is the first of its kind, meanwhile, Last Word Art is the art made in a genre after all the rules have been fixed, and still manages to standout amongst it’s category. While First Word Art is remembered for being different, I find that Last Word Art is remembered for being better than the rest. I feel that in some ways this can be compared to the Gartner Hype Cycle.

For one thing, technology, like art comes in waves and cycles. There is always the first technology, or the Technology trigger—as the cycle describes it as—that works similarly as the first word art. This technology does something different. It can’t be compared to others and thus is remembered for being the precursor for a genre or an age. However, unlike with art, I don’t believe there is or can ever be any form of technology that can be considered or compared to a Last Word Art and that is because of the novelty of technology. Unlike with art where even past works are referenced and remembered and iconic, old technology is left by the wayside, forgotten and rendered irrelevant in the wake of technological advances. This is why I consider the word ‘hype’ in the hype cycle to be so important. Hype implies initial excitement that inevitably dies off and with technology I really think this the case. Because the cycle is never ending there will be no real point when we look at an old piece of technology and think this was the best of what was made in its field. There is no legacy, there is no way to ‘survive the test of time’, there is only what’s next, what’s better and what else. I believe that is why Schulze prefers to work in the Trough of Disillusionment. He likes to look at the pieces of technology that were doing something different during their heyday, that, though forgotten, were unique and memorable.

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