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.