Sunday, November 07, 2004

Claude Shannon (link below) said that information = unpredictability. and yet, in another context, we say that noise is the opposite of signal. what's that about? I think one of the problems is that information is usually given an independence from context - it just is, in some kind of measurable quantity, apart from context. this may not be so - at least regarding something like a painting, which is, after all, communication. there's a signal there, right? but transactional nature of communication is what I find fascinating. the pitch (as in softball, not sales, but maybe so, eh) in the form of a painting - colored pigments on cloth. this gets hung on a wall. there it sits. Is that information? IMO, not until someone hears that tree fall over. takes the pitch and returns. when the viewer sees that painting, they are seeing no more than pigments on cloth - then they put in an amazing amount of work, of reconstructing a message out of what could be noise to anyone else. Apparent detail is what clued me to this: step away from the painting, see mountains, hills, see the details on the side of the house. step closer, and it's just random brush strokes! Where did the detail, ie information, come from? I didn't put it there - I just put pigment on cloth! The viewer put it there. Looks like I might have to lower my prices, cut some kind of deal with previous buyers of my now-acknowledged-to-be unfinished works!

And we're not even getting the question of meaning, which relies even more heavily on the creative contruction power of the individual's perception.


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