Re: [-empyre-] initial email statement

What you describe below reminds me of the state of Chinese ideograms or
Japanese kanji - there are ways to partially understand some of the 40,000
characters in existence (radicals, etc.), but there are limits. In Japan,
by the time you're out of highschool, you are taught 1800+ ideograms; by
the time you're out of college, you know 4000-5000. But these are only the
most obvious in the sea of course. Theoretically, one might suppose an
infinite field, of the sort that Xu Bing builds on in his art - Alan

On Wed, 5 Nov 2003, Deborah MacPherson wrote:

> 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
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
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