First Word, Last Word
First word art is groundbreaking and exploratory. It’s playing outside any rule structures. It side-steps competition. People often don’t know how to react to it. Last word art is virtuosity after the rules have been fixed. It accepts the established form, and is judged by comparison.
I believe First Word Art and Last Word Art may both find homes along the spectrum presented by the Gartner Hype Cycle. The question is exactly to place either kind, for as with any spectrum, there is no clear “right” or “wrong” answer. The relationship between First Word/Last Word and the Gartner Cycle is therefore intrinsically intertwined, where the Gartner Cycle is the more precise of the two. I would also like to point out that while the Gartner Hype Cycle focusses on different technologies, it could be used for social advances of many different categories. For example, if one were to substitute the title of art in place of that of technology, one might find a curve with the Helicopter Symphony placed at the beginning/left, installation art at the peak, and photography at the extreme right/end (these are my rough guesses).
My interests on the hype cycle lie along all points of the graph, as each stage presents a new opportunity. Quantum Computing, for example, is an extremely interesting topic where the results will not be visible for over a decade. If one is not working on developing such machines then there is little one can do. Working with emerging technologies which have established a future for themselves can be much more exciting and rewarding, particularly when there is an element of instant gratification involved. Schultz says in his video that he prefers to work in the “trough of disillusionment” – that area where technologies are accepted but not yet in (or never arrive at) the profitability stage.
“We’re interested in the dull stuff!”
These are technologies which are often mass-produced and are therefore less expensive than many of the emerging technologies will be.
“Of course we’re curious about jetpacks and fancy goggles, but we haven’t got any in North London.”