[-empyre-] initial email statement

Initial Statement:

I am working on a project with the JHU DKC to develop a process with 3
states: data, information and meaning. The transitions between the states
are: human/computer interaction, data curation and digital preservation. 

Central to this idea is the ability to gather and recognize meaning or
information by context instead of description.  It is our view that many
current classification and description techniques are held back by an inner
dependence on natural language.  Even though natural language and thought
have a clear and obvious relationship, words are not the right bridge to
certain kinds of ideas. Cultures, aesthetics, emerging theories, ways of
looking and measuring have become far more complex and interconnected than
natural language can capture or convey. Wrappers and descriptions at the
constantly evolving boundary between human thought, knowledge and
computational systems need an abstract mechanism to manipulate what counts
as "essential" and a new way to reflect these changes over time.

We propose a system to recognize patterns in symbolic descriptions that is
portrayed through an automatic visual language of generative forms, textures
and colors. The symbolic descriptions will be like "an alphabet" but we will
not be able to "learn" or "remember" the whole set of characters, only
certain subsets and we think that is ok. Even though we cannot understand
"the alphabet" in its entirety, smaller relationships between the characters
can act something like music which we readily understand. A song is a "mini"
whole that rarely wants to use all of the available notes, it is a line and
a hierarchy, it is layers, it is combination and structure that is no longer
component based. At what level can we say - who cares about the whole
alphabet, do you really need to know all of the symbols to speak the
language? What is the minimum to know before you can use the system? There
are actually very few (English) letters, numerals or musical notes but look
at the endless diversity of meaning - what will happen inside a system that
accommodates limitless letters, numbers and notes?


Deborah MacPherson
Principal Investigator/Curator
Accuracy & Aesthetics
118 Dogwood Street 
Vienna VA 22180 USA
703 242 9411 and 703 585 8924
fax 703 242 4127

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