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The HYPER DAILY 2016 Symposium, Towards Contemporaneity, International Contemporary Jewelry was held in collaboration between the Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) and the New Center of Contemporary Jewelry and Design Culture (NoCC) on December 5, 2016, discussing the main topic of Man/Human in the context of contemporary jewelry.
Klimt02 lectured about the topic HUMAN + COMMUNICATION.
From Information to Knowledge.
Attempting to overcome today’s infoxication.
1. Reality takes the shape of a network.
If we had to define, sum up or draw reality, for us it would take the shape of a network.
A network is a structure, which may be of different types, and the joins of this structure are the nodes. These nodes are the point of contact, which at the same time play a very important role in defining the type of network; reality in other words. It is in these nodes where communication occurs.
We’re interested in today’s communication. What is it? What’s it like? Who has it? What type is it? How is it transmitted? We’re interested in finding out what “shape” this “network” takes today and what “shape” it might take in the near future.
We should point out that this structure is what will define communication and, as such, is what will determine the efficient transformation of information into knowledge.
2. A brief history of communication
The new developments ushered in by new technologies must be interpreted on the basis of historical conditions.
We’re now in the third act of a long story. The first act took place 3000 years ago, with the transition from oral to written language. This represented a new development in the medium/message dichotomy: from sound to paper.
The second act occurred with the invention of the printing press, marking a shift from handwriting to the dissemination of printed knowledge. The dissemination of data and knowledge was multiplied.
And now, here we are in the third act, represented by new technologies, where the medium is the hard element and the message is the soft one. The generation of data and its transmission occur on a global scale.
The medium/message dichotomy has been transformed three times. And each transformation or crisis, so to speak, has had consequences for society; changes have occurred in relations and balances of power, justice and law, etc. Our way of seeing the world has changed. In a nutshell, we could say that when the communication medium changes, the message changes, communication itself changes and, automatically and gradually, reality changes.
For a long time we lived in a pyramid-shaped structure, with few transmitters and many receivers. Today, television would be an example of a communication medium that belongs to the past. With the arrival of the Internet there are as many transmitters as receivers. The network, the shape of reality, has once again shifted and will shift still further.
We could interpret the entire human race as a single data-processing system in which humans perform the role of chips or data processors.
We may plausibly argue that if reality is increasingly based on greater data processing, history could be understood as a process geared towards improving the efficiency of this data transmission system.
Q&A - Discussant: Märta Mattsson, Hans Stofer, Jorunn Veiteberg & Leo Caballero (klimt02)
3. From information to knowledge
The fact that there are now as many transmitters as receivers is not necessarily an overwhelmingly positive phenomenon. Picture a scenario in the near future in which millions of people find themselves on an equal footing, leading us to a devaluation of criteria. For how long can such a situation be sustained?
The individual and the market are gaining strength to the detriment of structures such as the family and the community.
How can the information monopolies destroy networks? How is big data already affecting us? And what about artificial intelligence?
To answer these questions, it will no doubt be necessary to adopt a philosophical perspective, focusing on new forms of social and communicative organisation.
What we can safely argue is that reality has a structure and that whatever this structure is, whatever shape it takes, whether we like it or not, and whether we want to transform it or not, it must first of all be understood and, if possible, fully grasped.
And what we also know is that the fact of having information does not necessarily mean understanding it. Being well informed does not necessarily mean having a greater and better understanding of reality. How can we gain understanding?
The wider the variety of approaches and solutions we employ the better. We also need to ask ourselves the right questions in order to be capable of assimilating the volume of information and turning it into knowledge.
4. A theory of knowledge: the work of art as a metaphor
Among all the possible approaches for finding out, connecting, decoding and reconstructing a narrative that leads us to an understanding of reality, we embrace art. Art, particularly works of art, are synthesized structures, created to transmit a high and distilled volume of knowledge. This is our method: to reproduce what happens with a work of art.
The work of art is a slice of reality that compresses, frames and remodels thought. The experience of reality is expanded through reduction.
However, in order for the consummation of the work of art to take place, the artistic act must occur. And this involves the existence of communication; the existence of another mind, another node capable of decoding the original thought that has been initially created (coded) by the creative mind: from node 1 to node 2. This is the consummation of the artistic act; from reduction to expansion through communication.
The work of art contains the maximum possible concentration of reality. It’s a node from which a large number of other nodes grow and interconnect.
The work of art generates more reality, through concentration-reduction, through structure-language and through connection-communication.
It may be a very interesting exercise to approach reality through the concentration of reality.
5. Klimt02 and contemporaneity
As part of this reality, our intention is to structure information, to reduce it in order to expand it in the user’s mind through communication, to serve as a node which at the same time interconnects as many nodes as possible in order to communicate, to compare and to connect.
Our aim is to focus on detecting, selecting, explaining, connecting, transmitting and showing in order for the receiving mind to acquire knowledge and become a node capable of simultaneously decoding and transmitting what it has received.
We can decide which nodes to connect and, as such, which part of the network we are creating and which parts we’re going to connect. In this process we foster the creation of previously non-existent nodes. The way in which each one of them works creates new connections, a new network and, therefore, a new reality.
Through art jewellery, at Klimt02 we aim to decode and generate knowledge, explaining the many levels of research and creation which we come across in this artistic discipline: explaining the possible uses of raw materials (gold, silver, plastic, wood, etc.), showing various fusion techniques (chemical reactions, alloys that lead to new materials, etc.), decoding archetypical models and paradigmatic designs (geometry, mathematics, abstraction, narration, etc.), contemplating the progress already made (history, tradition, technology, etc.), reflecting on concepts and ideas (synthesis, interdisciplinarity, languages, etc.), and evaluating what can really generate more reality.
In short, attempting to reproduce the shape of reality means being part of reality. And this shape may remove all the noise generated by the overload and fracture of information: the phenomenon of infoxication.
In an economy of attention where the phenomenon of infoxication is growing exponentially, we don’t have time to discover the entire dimension of reality but rather we restrict ourselves to discussing the labels we have given it.
Selecting, processing, classifying and managing information means creating a part of reality.
Jie Sun (Professor, Head of NoCC, D&I, Tongji University) introducing the symposium
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