[PD] Re: Code Art

Mathieu Bouchard matju at sympatico.ca
Sat Dec 20 20:29:50 CET 2003

On Sat, 20 Dec 2003, B. Bogart wrote:

> I do think that traditionally art has been more about dichotomy than
> dialectic but there does seem to be a contemporary interest in looking
> at things (art) beyond a dichotomy.

"Fuzzy logic" is a contemporary word, too =)

> Congrats on the last semester, what were you studying?!

Numerical Analysis, Fourier Analysis, Group Theory, Differential Geometry.

> I've been thinking about a second paper based on that first one, more
> concentrating on the idea of metaphor in relationship to
> information-media (hmmm I like that term much better than new-media).

If taking the word "media" as in communication theory, then "information
media" sounds redundant, and even if you take it in the alternate meaning
of "mass media" then "information media" still sounds redundant. Well you
can argue that "mass media" is not about information, but then it depends
on how you define "information"... (argh)

> I think one of the core ideas of information technology (after
> symbolic representation) is the ability to transcribe from one system
> of symbols into another. George Lakoff talks about metaphor as a
> transference from one conceptual domain onto another.

In math, "homomorphism" is a mapping from one context to another such that
(at least) part of the second one is (at least) partially equivalent to
the first one. To me it's the formal equivalent of what an analogy is.
That concept is very much useful in mathematics for connecting different
contexts together and showing that things that apply to one context also
apply to another, which is also the role of analogy in nonmathematical
discourse. Analogy is, imho, the transference from one conceptual domain
into another, and metaphor is an implied analogy where one part is

> Oh course conceptions are what allow us to understand, identify and
> organize our world. My point was not the lack of conceptions, but
> perhaps the possibility that our conceptions are the world.

If you redefine the world as being our conceptions, then that is true, but
the fact that our conceptions vary over time and from person to person
according to things external to our conceptions, suggests that there is
something else than our conceptions, and that something else was supposed
to be called "the world", in the first place. So in the end it's just that
we're pulling each other's definitions from under our feet.

That shifting of the meaning of the words "world", "reality", etc., is
central to postmodernism: the denial of the world as a thing outside of
ourselves. Deconstructing the narrative of postmodernism, I find that the
meme "our conceptions are the world" is itself a power structure, and that
in the opposition between "world" and "our conceptions", this power
structure makes the latter dominant over the former, to the point that
"our conceptions" is seen as better than "world", and the meaning of
"world" shifts towards "our conceptions" (of it), such that the world
seems, uh, less worldly.

> It is my personal view that awareness is actually the creation of
> structure, perhaps from randomness.

No, becoming aware is the discovery of structure from what was previously
seen as random or nonsignificant. That means the creation of additional
structure in your conception from the existing previously-unnoticed
structure in the things that you are observing.

> Any sophists in the group?

Shht. I wish they do not show up.

> Ah yes, noise is the absense of signal, so depending on what "signal"
> your looking for, the noise would be different. Is noise then a signal
> your not looking for?

Noise is the complement of signal, and signal is whatever you look for. If
you look for something else, then for the same input, something else may
be the signal and something else may be the noise. Since all we have is
finite information, then we can construe anything into being interpretable
and having a pattern and being a signal, but that creates expectations on
what the following inputs will be, and so, if you made up a pattern that
is not backed by enough data, you are likely to be disappointed/confused
by the following inputs...

If you consider (theoretically) analyzing infinite amounts of information,
then there are infinite inputs have an unanalyzable portion of infinite
size, that has no pattern no matter how you put it. (This is closely
related to "Skolem's paradox"). This may seem silly at first, as we can't
analyse infinite amounts of information in the first place, but see it as
a limit case of analysing ever more information instead: absolute noise
gradually reveals itself as something that eventually refutes every
pattern you may see in it.

(Am I being too heavy?)

Mathieu Bouchard                       http://artengine.ca/matju

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