Thursday, May 8, 2008

quality and art 2: hype, fiction, pirsig & page rank continued

(ok where was i. my problem with a blog like this one is that i cannot begin to write as fast as what my thoughts should like for speed, and also i cannot write for any spells due to rsi. so i have to cut it up in pieces, but then the train of thought becomes one of those public transportation misadventures...)

so if i cannot determine quality (even restricted to art) consistently even for myself, how should i be able to communicate to others what i mean by it? does it even have some sort of meaning or ... are we all just fooling ourselves and each other? is quality just fiction? [just justifying the mystifying title of these blogposts explicitly]

i can however look at the mechanisms which cause some science, art, music, cars, bridges, food,... to be given the predicate `quality' by ... `experts' - and from the experts the general public soon follows / or by the general public - and from the general public the `experts' soon follow...

in the end what it boils down to, in my not so humble opinion (imnsho), is that we humans have not got a better `objective' concept of quality than what i would call generalized page rank. consider each human to be like a web page, having some page rank. consider some humans to be expert, these get a high generalized page rank (gpr). then see what kind of buzz (=gpr) a certain subject (for instance an art work, or an artist) generates to determine its `objective' quality.

[i apologize to those readers who do not know how google calculates page rank, but the web overflows with info on this]

obviously, there are many snags behind this way of determining quality. it yet is the current practice in almost all disciplines i know of. one obvious snag is that this gpr-business leads to hypes: things that create a buzz because they create a buzz because everyone is busy buzzing about it...until the hype moves on and people wonder: why was anybody ever truly interested in this for longer than five days?

and this is where i believe pirsigs approach is valuable, on the personal level. because if i drop the prerequisite that i should be able to communicate objectively what quality is, then i can explore quality on the personal, probably non-verbal level.

as an artist, i feel this is what i should do - disregarding gpr- mechanisms and especially hype-like buzzing. to be continued.

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