Clacker- First Word/ Last Word

The first word/ last word paradigm rings true throughout art’s relationship with contemporary technology. The pressure to either be the first or the best is specific to technologies relationship with art becasue the tools themselves trickle down in accessibility. An artist with institutional access and connections to the contemporary world of technology can strive to be first by using the tech tools accessible to those working in technology for artistic means. An artist who has situated themselves in a strictly art context, alongside those working with more traditional mediums, will never be the first to use a tool in an artistic context, but has the potential to, as this article put it, stand the test of time. This is possible when a deep understanding of art and art history can be applied to contemporary technology. I find myself questioning this relationship frequently, and wonder if this paradigm is the result of the fact that any one person can not be both an expert fine artist with a capital A, and also be on the cutting edge of technology and clued in to insider shifts in the software/hardware climate. Though that being said, I am curious about how interdisciplinary programs can promote a generally multidisciplinary artist working at the forefront of both technology and art. I am interested in seeing how this new approach will potentially alter the First Word / Last Word paradigm.

pamble- First Word Art Last Word Art

While I do appreciate the way this phrase can illuminate certain discussions about art and technology, it is, I think, an ultimately limited tool for categorizing and evaluating which excludes and/or misunderstands a great deal of the art on this lil ol planet. (Of course, what phrase that attempts to summarize art doesn’t fail at least partially). In the universe of this phrase, one can venture to innovate and create a new form, or to perfect a pre-existing form. Meanwhile, content and context barely factor into the phrase at all. For instance, a relief print made in 2016, which doesn’t really turn the whole world of printmaking on its head, but which perfectly encapsulates and communicates, say, the experience of someone living in Flint Michigan- this certainly doesn’t constitute first word art, and I don’t think last word art is a great word for it either. The hypothetical print I’m talking about is one that is more focused on content and subject than craft and medium. The medium was picked because it seemed fit to carry the content. The way I understand last word art is sort of the opposite of the hypothetical print: finding the perfect content to fit the medium constitutes the last word in the ongoing discussion of that medium. I suppose you could tailor firstword/lastword to talk about content instead of medium/form, but then that sets up a somewhat gross race to make the BEST Flint related artwork, before abandoning the subject altogether after someone gets the last word. I think it’s best to think about form and content simultaneously, to listen to a medium tell you what it’s most fit to say, and to listen to content reveal its own grammar.

Darca-FirstWordLastWord

After reading this fascinating article, I started to wonder the purpose of defining artworks as “first word art” or “last word art”. Because it might just fall into the pattern of a closed circle in my opinion. It implies that certain kind of art should start somewhere and when it peaks, the mic is dropped and the chapter ends. But is it possible that “first word art” and “last word art” are simply outliers, or turning points that opens new doors to others who comes after? If technically the “last word art” can be overridden by something that is created in the future, the “last” in it simply stands for the turning point in the past. And it’s always open to interpretation that whether it is “first word art” or “last word art” as the history is written and more discoveries are made.

So one might imagine the history of art grows like trees, while there is a turning point, it simply grows out new branches and reaches further. It could be a continuous process in which every attempt of becoming a turning point is contributive and accumulates to the point that the turn is actually made.

Back to the discussion of “first word art” and “last word art”. In the world of new media, the community culture is a powerful factor that allows artists to share and collaborate more frequently and easily than ever. Artists with different backgrounds can bring in more “first word arts” in the collaboration, and this might be more likely to inspire each other to make something completely new (“first word art”); or become a stronger force to take certain “first word art” up a level.

I agree with the idea that “last word art” and “first word art” are not mutually exclusive. When I was reading the article, it occurred to me that the relationship between those two kinds of art might just be like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. The former started the format of political satire on late night television and the other made his mark by playing an absolutely epic character that goes beyond the format itself. The character becomes his own “first word art”, starting a new genre of satirism. And those who come later often take a little from everyone, and even if not all of them are so symbolic as those two at this moment, there always shall be a John Oliver that takes it away to somewhere else.

arialy-FirstWordLastWord

I try to appreciate art of every form, but my preference leans towards last word art. I think it’s necessary for mediums to evolve and break new boundaries, but I often feel like I have a harder time relating to these works. I do however appreciate the expanding breadth of technology. I might just be more comfortable with works of art at new boundaries of technical abilities. 360 videos and VR headsets may have a certain initial novelty, but as long as there’s substance to the work, I don’t think novelty diminishes its artistic value. If it further excites its viewer, even better. When people saw Michelangelo’s statues, some may have even thought it was real. The fact that this was new for its audience doesn’t take away from the endless appreciation we have towards his work. Similarly for new technologies, though one may feel more excited by the mere medium of expression, there must be something substantial at the core of it.

First Word / Last Word

I believe a very important part of the discussion regarding first word / last word art is accessibility. I feel this is especially relevant to our high-tech moment. Who is granted access to the tools to experiment with this art form? When tools / technology are only accessible to a small group of people, or a limited demographic, the concept of “first word art” has an equally narrow scope and cannot be described as a global statement regarding a new art form. The conversation takes place inside an echo chamber, speaking only to its reflection. Working to expand the availability and knowledge base of high tech tools, we may muddy the waters of “pure experimentation,” and increase the timeline of “first word artworks,” but we vastly increase the scope of the dialogue. New, broad investigations lead us to expressive breakthroughs that would not be heard or possible within a group limited to those who may predictably “claim” to be the innovators of the moment.

Personally, I aim to strike a balance between experimentation that pushes the boundaries of the tools available (for the excitement of this process and the headache that comes with it), and the communicative ability of these experimentations to effectively tell a story, convey a feeling, or express an idea.

kadoin-FirstWordLastWord

What’s inspiring often has the quality of pushing the limits of the norms, but mainly, it’s about the work’s ability to engage people emotionally, beyond the novelty. I’m glad CMU has artistic based programming classes because in general code is pretty far from the first artistic medium people think of, but the amazingly creative and beautiful things people can do with it is almost overwhelming. The rate at which the forefront of technology and new media is also increasing so fast, it’s hard to keep up. I’m very excited about all the “first word art” being made with new technologies but I also think it needs to not get too swept up in all the excitement what’s most important when it comes down to it, isn’t doing something beyond what’s been done before, but doing something with meaning that you put your heart and soul into. Those are the things I would be able to be proud of and hopefully leave lasting impressions on others as well.

Kelc-FirstWordLastWord

From my understanding, the writer of this article defines first word art to be novel, groundbreaking, and the beginning of a conversation. For example, Jackson Pollock could be considered a first-word artist for pioneering the abstract expressionist movement. Last word art, on the other hand, provides a new perspective on a conversation that has already been in existence; It challenges, explores, and builds off of conventions already set in place. Duchamp and participants in the dAdA art movement could be considered first-word artists, as they challenged the idea of just what could be considered artwork and the current state of the art sphere.
I believe almost all technological novel inventions play off of old ideas– in a way both first and last word art. For example, it is often brought up why Apple is such renowned company. First, they took an invention already in existence (a desktop computer) and decided to incorporate the idea of play/fun into it. They took a functional item and adjusted the design, the interface, made it more user-friendly, and created a more fluid system for use. Rather than attempting to come up with an entirely new tool (which they later did, basically pioneering the invention smartphone and the tablet) they took an already existing item and challenged the rules and conventions that had already been in place for it. Remaining on the topic of the Macintosh, Macbook and iPhone, these technologies shaped culture socially, economically, and politically. It created a new common experience amongst an entire generation, an experience that is occasionally lost to older generations. It coined a new commodity which through its functionality reels the buyer into continually purchasing the “newer model”. It created new forms of activism and news reception among the public. At the same time, the iPhone and its features very much cater to its users needs, so as cultural staples shift and society evolves, the technology keeps up with what is “new and upcoming”. I would consider myself to be most interested in technology that reworks and revisits rules and conventions that have already been set in place– “last word art”. That in itself keeps it “in with the times” and keeps the conversation surrounding it relevant.

cambu-FirstWordLastWord

The question poised my Mr. Naimark is one that goes beyond the World of Art. In fact, I’ve found the parallel question in design is, more often than not, answered with a bias towards the Last Word. Famously, Paul Rand said: “Don’t try to be original. Just try to be good.” 

While new paradigms and designs that buck traditional patterns (Apple 3D Touch, Rap Music in the 80s, The Yale Graphic Style, etc.) are very often scrutinized (even maybe unfairly so) I do not personally believe there’s a choice to be made between the First and Last Word. As Naimark mentions, the latter can not exist without the former. That said, I think it would be honest to speak truthfully about the generally poor craft and quality of First Word items while also being critical of the wrote-ness and lack of innovation present in Last Word works.

It’s a convention in many places where critique is practiced (I’ve experienced it here at the School of Design and working in industry) that the question is first asked What type of feedback is desired? [and will be delivered] — though I don’t believe permission should have to be granted for critique to be given, I do think it’s an astute question to ask oneself before giving the feedback. Because if we can master our consciousness and context awareness, we may just be able to see the value the First Word can bring while appreciating the level of mastery the Last Word has achieved.

Zarard-FirstWordLastWord

I am personally interested in last word art, specifically that which stands the test of time. I consider experimentation to be important but to me it feels like JUST the beginning, and lacking of more mastery. While new technology is allowing constant experimentation and a never-ending feeling of “newness”, It is still slow to be accepted into established and more prestigious museums (MOMA, Guggenheim, Louvre). This is because the works are so new and experimental, that they don’t evoke the same feeling of completeness like when you look at a Jackson Pollock piece. Part of the reason why the sense of completeness isn’t their because we as a culture are still shaping and defining what it means to make quality pieces that lie in the intersection of Art and Technology. Although some may argue that technology is essentially an ephemeral medium anyways that doesn’t require a piece to stand the test of time, I would argue that the digital footprint we leave is more thorough and permanent than ever before, and that in the age of data where everything is recorded and stored… our art might last forever … and maybe that means it should have the last word.

Catlu – FirstWordLastWord

Rather than compare first word art and last word art, I think it’s more important to acknowledge them both and how they impact the direction of art as a whole. Groundbreaking ideas and technology are ever present in art, yet they themselves cannot sustain it. The first word is the spark of a movement, yet if only it can be seen as valuable, future endeavors of its kind in art or culture, it itself cannot be seen as something that truly had an influence. A great leap forward has never been contained to one person, or one piece of artwork. It has always been sparked by novelty and inspiration, and perpetuated by further exploration and refinement. Indeed, it’s the last word, if there can be a last word, that leads many to seek a new first word. Without refinement, a first is just that. Without a first, a last will never be reached. It’s through the combination of the two that great and lasting change is made. When the novelty has worn out, what mark has been left underneath? What truly matters is the impact after the excitement.

Ngdon-FirstWordLastWord

The technology is ever advancing, and the tons of artistic possibilities are being opened by new medias. But I believe that whether it is for first or last word art, the creation process always essentially a remix of old things. For we are limited by the fact that we’re human beings, and what we care about are fundamentally the same things: life, death, emotions, etc.. We rearranges them, wrap them in a new form, give them some new colors, throw them in a new context, etc. but its always the same bits that make them up.

I am interested in both first and last word art. First word art excites me and inspires me, while last word art makes me truly enjoy and admire. I sometimes try to create things that are completely new, yet find myself resonating something ancient. Sometimes I try to work with an old medium, but some random new things popup in my work.

hizlik – FirstWordLastWord

After reading this, I’m kind of surprised I had never thought of dividing significant works of art, or moments in time, based on if it was “groundbreaking” or “best ever” of a particular subject, medium or substance. And I was taken aback again by the same feeling once i got to the end and once again, something I hadn’t though of (both first word art and last word art).

I can sometimes relate to the things Naimark mentions, and feel I’m more sort of a last-word-art(ist). I thoroughly enjoy making a preexisting idea or refining a preexisting piece to perfection, rather than starting from scratch and thinking of something no one has thought of. I often do try to think of things that are first word art, pieces that haven’t been made ever, software that’s never been thought of, designs that haven’t been invented yet. But most of the time I end up running in circles in my mind, only to give up, be inspired by something I see on the web, and build/work off of that to create newer, different yet still somewhat familiar projects. Most specifically I can relate to my PowerPoint artworks, games and projects, all of which use a preexisting platform (MS Office) and tools/shapes but I end up creating something no one has thought of (that I’ve met in person, so far).

Jaqaur – FirstWordLastWord

I’ve never thought of myself as particularly creative; as much as I love making art, I struggle to come up with anything truly novel. My approach to improving as an artist usually involves studying technique and theory, and most of my best work (in my opinion) is actively based on someone else’s. So, I’d have to say I’m more of a Last Word Artist, even though it’s hard to say now whether or not my work will stand the test of time.
That being said, I’ve always appreciated First Word Art most: seeing a form of art that’s I’ve never seen before feels like a new discovery, like I’m a tiny bit smarter or more worldly than before. I don’t get that same excitement looking at an oil portrait of fruit, no matter how well-painted it is.
Ultimately, First Word Art is a better example of creation–a major part of what art is all about–because it not only creates an individual work, but potentially a new genre, style, or idea. Last Word Art, on the other hand, provides a better means of expression–another key part of art–because an idea is more likely to reach an audience if they know what they’re looking at in the first place.

Takos-FirstWordLastWord

Culture shapes technological development by providing a need or a want for advancement, and an area where technology thrives. Without society, there would be no need for new technologies to be invented, and there would be a lack of desire for new technologies. These technologies in turn shape culture as well. Naimark discussed the difference between Haydn and Beethoven. Haydn created a new ‘technology’, the symphony, because he wanted to put something new into the world, and perhaps saw a demand from society for something new. He created a new classical form and perhaps more importantly, he created it successfully, and he was able to use to well. If he did not have good symphonies then they would not have become popular. Beethoven, on the other hand, used existing technologies to shape culture. By writing symphonies he interacted with culture through technology, and his lasting popularity is a testament to the importance of both first word and last word art. The first word paves the way for new art forms, the more successful it is, the better chance it has to change the culture, but last word art has a higher chance of being more technically proficient due to the prior establishment of the form.

Antar-FirstWordLastWord

 

  • Wolfgang Weingart
  • Vivienne Westwood
  • Saul Bass
  • Univers (typeface)
  • Coca Cola
  • Weiden + Kennedy (agency)

As a designer I have been taught that time is the greatest challenge to overcome. If your work can survive some, then you’ve succeeded. Carnegie Mellon is an exceptional place to learn design, where traditional design studios co-exist in an environment that thrives on experimentation and pushing the boundaries. To create long lasting work there has to be a solid foundation. Why are you producing this, and why does it matter? Who will it affect, and how will it affect them? These are the questions we should ask ourselves when trying to create more than simply “cool shit”.

While reading this article, I couldn’t help but think of my own list of subjects that I believe are both First Word and Last Word. I think these artists both helped define their area, and also set the bar that has stood the test of time. As mentioned in the article, working in the First Word helps provide learning and future artists with the tools to possibly become Last Word artists. New technologies also help improve the longevity of older technology. For instance, Netflix has helped television and film persevere, while also providing more freedom for producers. With less constraints producers have been given the chance to include more vulgar, uncomfortable and controversial content that have been used to create dialogues about society.

I also believe the culture of Gen Z has helped influence the direction of technology. I think the members of Gen Z tend to be impatient, self-motivated, and independent. It’s a culture that fuels First Word thinking by allowing the youth to break the grid and follow their own experimental path.

Keali-FirstWordLastWord

Naimark’s essay resonated with me in that I feel the ideology of first word and last word art is accurate, especially today; in critiquing and reviewing artworks, there is a natural instinct on the audience’s part to make comparisons to older and similar pieces. Hence, when something is created that is arguably novel for its kind, there is initial shock and acknowledgement of the difference in craft, and this experience of coming across something new often overwhelms any evaluation of objective, technical strengths and weaknesses. This however is an inevitable and positive contribution to the unending influx of artists as new ideas, media, and tools can be discovered and utilized as time progresses. First word art sets a precedence for future generations, spurring new varieties of works and subsequently affecting involved cultures; generally speaking, creativity is often perceived as a positive asset to an individual, and so the first word arts encourage and give vitality to more of such creativity. This in turn leads to more development of the last word arts, and eventually, other first word arts, all of which together dynamically contribute to the building blocks of an ever-changing, artistic society; both types should be recognized as important. I personally find myself along the spectrum of last word art, as a lot of my aspirations stem from already established genres, tools, and media. However, I thoroughly advocate against the downgrade of last word art as unoriginal and inferior; there is still beauty, curiosity, skill, and fun in creating works that are inspired from others’, and oftentimes there is the unrealistic expectation of art to be completely original, unprecedented, and revolutionary to be considered worthy, or good. This unfair judgment is one that I believe should be reconsidered.

Aliot-FirstWordLastWord

The argument that a field as large, diverse, and ill-defined as art can be bisected “neatly… in two” by such elementary criteria seems to be an oversimplification, at worst. At best, it is a paradigm in which we can hope to better understand the motivations behind some (not all) works and how they are situated in a broader context. I think the article was quite articulate, but it presented nothing that I had not already contemplated. In fact the mere words “new media” inherently embody much of the article’s claims. The field is an artistic field because the methods and mediums within “new media art” have not yet been explored, which implies that in other fields of art, artists work with mediums that have already been explored.

That being said, Naimark deserves credit, at least, for contradicting himself in a significant way: he says that the two divisions are “not mutually exclusive,” even going so far as to assign a project to find works that fall into both categories. Naimark should have also assigned a project to find works that fall into neither category to exemplify the “in the middle” period that a lot of art movements must have. Of course if there is a beginning of an era and an end of an era, doesn’t that mean that there is a middle?

As a student interested in new media and technical arts, I continuously ask myself “is new media even new?” At times it seems that it is not new at all, which undermines so much of what makes my work compelling. After all, the second person who did something is not nearly as important as the first. Does my work fall into the forgettable middle? Neither pioneering or perfected?

Drewch – First Word/Last Word

First Word / Last Word is a very elegant way of describing one of the biggest divides in the art community, but it is also comparable to, or directly related, to the schism forming in the latest developing art medium: video games. First Word and Last Word games are more often described as Abstract and Formalist, respectively. Most of video game history is dominated by formalist games, games that adhere to expectations from its related genre, but there has been an increasing amount of abstract games coming to popular attention. Now there is a lot of controversy over how video games should be defined.

A formalist definition of video games would provide clear boundaries for what could be a video game, but such boundaries would restrict creative deviations. On the contrary, a loose abstractionist video game definition could make the title meaningless. If anything could count as a game, then nothing is a game.

Whenever I encounter this First Word/ Last Word argmument, I always try to explain that both forms of art build on each other. Abstractionists spur and inspire Formalists, and Formalists provide boundaries for Abstractionists to break. I have learned a lot about myself through video games, and I want the medium to go places where it hasn’t been and to accomplish what hasn’t before and become a medium that teaches us about life in ways that other mediums cannot. That will rely on the community’s and video game developers’ understanding  of what a video game truly is.

Xastol-FirstWordLastWord

First and last word art are constantly battling one another in today’s society. New innovations and discoveries in technology create the basis for first word art, while improving upon these technologies, to create even more elaborate works, is central to last word art.

Personally, I don’t believe one side is more important than the other. The two forms of art are essentially the same thing in that they are a part of the same timeline of events and have no end: art is always “becoming” and “evolving”. In terms of technology, the advancement of tech allows for more diverse works of art to be made, which has a direct effect on culture (tech influences how society acts with the world/perception of the world is changed). For example, advancements made in VR (Virtual Reality) will change how entertainment (video games, movies, etc.) will be consumed. Already, our culture reflects this with more video games having compatibility with VR products such as the Oculus Rift. In turn, the needs and wants of society will push these technologies to further develop. Since people want to consume entertainment in a more realistic way, tech will improve to match these desires.

Kander – FirstWordLastWord

Technology is a tool that can be applied to almost every field, especially art. Technical novelty is ideal for producing first word art – the continued advancement of, for example, video technology, allows films to be producing in a totally new way. However, in order to produce last word art, the artist must rely on more tried-and-true methods of connecting with the audience. If a composition is ugly in the sense that it fails to resonate with the viewer, it doesn’t matter how “cool” the production process was. This principle is something I have to keep in mind in my own work, as I can tend to become so caught up in the minutiae– the sleekness of the code or the realism of the details of a drawing – that I forget to consider the piece as a whole work rather than a series of small, interworking parts. As modern life becomes more and more technical, and, judgement aside, a premium is placed on technical fields or skills, this lesson about using care when placing utility above form is one that society as a whole should be sure to consider, lest we end up in a very boring world.

Lumar-FirstWordLastWord

I found the “First word Art / Last word Art” incredibly insightful, even after, or perhaps especially because I read it last year as a freshman. Reading it again has brought greater reflection over what I have learned in the past year and personal changes in mindset and experience.

If I were asked last year, “where do you locate your interests along this spectrum [of art as something entirely novel or art as refining whats existing]?” I most definitely would have answered “last word” art. The underlying reasons would be somewhat conflicted but would mostly have stemmed from having a very traditional fine arts background. Having honed technical skills in traditional media and aesthetics for over a decade, I took no small amount of pride in the hard earned technical skill behind my art pieces. The sort of “first word art” pieces (like Dadaism or most especially John Cage’s performance pieces) definitely grated on me. Whether it was simply jealousy or an actual ideological offense I cannot say – only that it felt that “first word art” flippantly disregarded or perhaps in some cases negated the hard earned technical skill I had spent so long striving for in an effort to achieve “last word” art.

But I’ve come to think that valuing technical skill so highly in art brings about a curious dilemma. Where is the line between artist and artisan? For the artisan, technical excellence and refinement of an established product (with a unique personal touches that still lie within the box) is what makes what they do valuable. But how much distance does that establish between them and a very complex…machine? Now with technology able to make unique one of a kind products with mass produced efficiency….where does the artisan stand?

Within that context, the performance art of John Cage could be arguably valued more highly as art than an artisan piece because, ironically, however fleeting his pieces are, the impact they have has so much more longevity. And this brings me to the crux of my rambling – I think my interests are in how much ‘art’ might effectively engage people emotionally, intellectually and aesthetically through the ages. In this sense, I have yet to to determine where exactly on that spectrum my particular interest would be.

We might aspire to make stuff of lasting importance, but when our work is technologically novel, it doesn’t always age well. Discuss

The article certainly casts an interesting light on new media arts that use novel technology as their medium. I think the differentiation between first word art and something that simply shows off new technology for technologies sake, is that the piece important is using technology as a medium – wherein the novelty of the tech is not the main focus of the piece but rather something that augments the aesthetic and poetic expression and intent behind it – doing so lends some longevity to technologically novel pieces….though it is more difficult to say when the selling point of a piece is what sort of experience it invokes within the viewer.

What are some ways in which new technologies shape culture?

Technological advances are the underlying reason to nearly every cultural difference between generation Z and generation X. Take for example something simple like emails. From a generation of paper post, emails have a structure and a formality to them. There is a brief introduction/some small talk to transition into the meat of the message whereas generation Z communicates in brief staccatos. The overworking and abuse of workers prevalent through out the gilded age was largely enabled by light bulbs – workers could now work past sundown.

An example for culture changing technology has plenty of historical precedents. Nomadic viking culture lead to greater ship craft; agricultural Rome allowed for greater architectural achievements; sedentary civilizations developed longer lasting physical record taking methods (chinese and paper), etc.

Kcrawleb-FirstWordLastWord

This piece introduced a fascinating dichotomy for me to explore my own creative practice, but imposed a rather strict binary on types of artistic endeavors. Coming from experience in screen-based design, where it’s almost a given that your work will be outdated both aesthetically and technically within 3 years, I’ve naturally carried over that sense of currency to the more experimental work I do, anticipating that it will not ‘stand the test of time’ or become remembered as ‘last word art’. I rarely if ever question the longevity of my digital work because in many ways, so much of that is out of my control. The technologies that are essential to consume the work could be abandoned in favor of new ones or be patched with new features rendering my work unviewable. Additionally, in my work I’m naturally much more inclined towards diverse explorations of disciplines and ideas and have trouble gaining mastery in any one area, which I believe to be a prerequisite of ‘last word art’. While those two things push me towards the ‘first word’ side of the spectrum, I certainly still care about aesthetics and craft, and should put more thought into how I archive the things I make. I shy away from the sentiment that ‘first word art’ has to be concerned with novelty or at least be aware of it’s newness, and think the best art straddles this spectrum, bringing in new elements, techniques, or approaches, but demonstrating appropriate grace and consideration in its form.

Tigop-FirstWordLastWord

What does it mean when an artist does something that has “already been done”? When someone says something has “already been done”, I think that in most cases it means that the newer work that has been created was not effective in making a novel perspective accessible to an audience. The critic who claims that what the newer work has touched on has “already been done” is not pushed to feel that the newer work is bringing forth an alternate perspective of a previously discussed subject. This new work might have new components that an old work did not have, but if these components are just bells and whistles rather than significant parts that guide the audience towards a moment of insight, a visceral reaction, or whatever it might be that makes the newer piece important (despite the fact that the work’s old relative still lives on), then the new work has failed somehow. This is relevant to creating works that are technologically novel. If the role of the technology does not effectively help an audience reach something past the surface of the work, then the technology might be unnecessary or might serve a better purpose if used differently.

I do not think that it is pointless to continue a conversation that a “first word artist” has started, as perhaps what made the artist’s “first word art” so significant is that it initiated a conversation that was worth continuing. By adding to this conversation, one is not merely “doing something that has been done before”.  One is attempting to explore this conversation in a way that has not been explored before, answer a question, or create a new question from an old one- all of which are certainly worthwhile. I do not think that it is necessary to recreate the wheel in order to reach an idea which is novel. We stand on the shoulders of other artists, even if those other artists include individuals who created work within a cultural interim that existed between “us” and the “first word artists” or “us” and the “last word artists”.

With this being said, I have thought of some questions to consider when further examining Brad’s idea of “last word art”. Does this “last word art,” need to be created within the time frame of a specific art movement (perhaps an art movement that was started by a “first word art”) in order to be considered “last word art”? What are the constraints (if any) a work must fit into in order to be considered “last word art”? Is there a window period that still allows other artists to challenge a potential “last word art” so that their work can be considered “last word art” within that specific movement (making the position “last word art” tentative during this window period)?