First Word, Last Word

Gartner Hype Cycle and First Word/Last Word Art

The Gartner Hype Cycle (GHC) describes how evolves from being the Next Big Thing into something more mature and mainstream. In the essay First Word Art / Last Word Art (FW/LW Art), Michael Naimark discusses first word art, which explores the frontiers of media and techniques, and last word art, which perfects an existing medium to the point where it doesn’t seem worth working with anymore.

The GHC and FW/LW art seem to be the same idea once you abstract away the art/tech domain specificity. FW/LW art talks about the maturation of art media, so if you consider technology to be a medium for art, then the GHC is just one way of describing a trajectory of maturation. What makes it harder to fit GHC into FW/LW, though, is that, while GHC assumes that after some hype and disillusionment, a technology will become productive, art media don’t necessarily mature that way, steadily improving (e.g., television).

My Interests

In terms of the GHC, my interests mostly lie at the peak of inflated expectations, or low on the slope of enlightenment. I think this is because I always want to test out the potential of new things (see what they can do), and because I like to imagine uses for technology that hasn’t really been used well yet.

In terms FW/LW art, I’m less interested in creating new media than expressing myself through existing ones. I think I’d only get to FW art if I imagined something that couldn’t be done in any existing way, but that I was determined to do.

Schulze The Trough of Disillusionment

I think Schulze prefers to work in the “Trough of Disillusionment” because

  • It’s cheaper to use those parts.
  • The limitations and capabilities of the technology are relatively well understood, so you’re less likely to be disappointed by something that’s been hyped up.
  • It’s fun to surprise people by repurposing things they’ve disregarded.

Comments are closed.