First Word Art/Last Word Art and Gartner Hype Cycle

The phenomenon of “first word” art is very similar concept to what is resting on the Peak of Inflated Expectations in the Gartner Hype Cycle, whereas “last word” art parallels the Plateau of Human Productivity. Contrary to FW/LW art that makes these distinctions in a binary spectrum (though are not necessarily mutually exclusive), the Gartner Hype Cycle shows that an emerging technology continually progresses through various stages of hype and usefulness. However, I find it somewhat difficult to compare a discrete artwork – that’s often meant to be preserved in its original state – and a type developing of technology that is worked on by many people for numerous applications and contexts.

When I asked myself where my interests lie on this spectrum,  I was drawn to First word art and the Plateau of Productivity on the GHC. I found this odd since these describe opposite ends if you perceive these as parallel spectrums. However, I think this is partially a product of the contradictory values I’ve picked up while being in the environment of Carnegie Mellon: I’ve gotten into the mindset that it’s only acceptable to be involved in a project (or even a problem) that is original and provocative, making me continually grab on to highly specific ideas. As well as a mindset that you can’t pursue an idea if someone has posted a vaguely similar concept anywhere on the Internet. Yet at the same time with design, it must be relevant to how people should live, and aim to withstand time rather than be simply a novelty. It’s a competitive and unrealistic perspective to have that has proved to be very limiting and frustrating for me, so hopefully this class’ upcoming projects will help shake that up.


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