Chus Martinez On How To Disorganise The Relations Between Art And Entropy: Enter The Curator!


In information theory, entropy is a measure of the uncertainty associated with a random variable. In this context, the term usually refers to the Shannon entropy, which quantifies the expected value of the information contained in a message. Entropy is typically measured in bits, nats, or bans.

Equivalently, the Shannon entropy is a measure of the average information content one is missing when one does not know the value of the random variable. The concept was introduced by Claude E. Shannon in his 1948 paper “A Mathematical Theory of Communication”.

Shannon’s entropy represents an absolute limit on the best possible lossless compression of any communication, under certain constraints: treating messages to be encoded as a sequence of independent and identically distributed random variables, Shannon’s source coding theorem shows that, in the limit, the average length of the shortest possible representation to encode the messages in a given alphabet is their entropy divided by the logarithm of the number of symbols in the target alphabet.

A single toss of a fair coin has an entropy of one bit. A series of two fair coin tosses has an entropy of two bits. The entropy rate for the coin is one bit per toss. However, if the coin is not fair, then the uncertainty is lower (if asked to bet on the next outcome, we would bet preferentially on the most frequent result), and thus the Shannon entropy is lower. Mathematically, a sequence of coin flips (fair or not) is an example of a Bernoulli process, and its entropy is given by the binary entropy function. A series of tosses of a two-headed coin will have zero entropy, since the outcomes are entirely predictable. The entropy rate of English text is between 1.0 and 1.5 bits per letter, or as low as 0.6 to 1.3 bits per letter, according to estimates by Shannon based on human experiments.

In art it is almost impossible to predict how an audience will understand a work if it is simply unleashed upon them. But we can massively reduce the entropy level in art by introducing the empathy of curator. The curator has a special mastery of art and understanding of the artist and through their superior intelligence is able to articulate in words what the artist can only say visually. Without the curator the artist exists in an isolation tank, and audiences sees nothing in their work but a ‘madman signalling through the flames at the stake’’ Only the curator can save art from entropy and the artist from him or herself, while simultaneously enlightening the masses with the insights that art can bring!

2 Responses to How To Disorganise The Relations Between Art And Entropy: Enter The Curator!

Michael Roth | August 17, 2012 at 11:30 pm In Art Theory, catastrophe theory is a branch of Aesthetics in the study of dynamical systems; it is also a particular special case of more general singularity theory in Archival Studies, especially as it relates to curation.

Aesthetic theory studies and classifies phenomena characterized by sudden shifts in behavior arising from small changes in circumstances, analysing how the qualitative nature of equation solutions depends on the parameters that appear in the equation. This may lead to sudden and dramatic changes, for example the unpredictable timing and magnitude of opening night of a major art show.

Catastrophe theory, which originated with the work of Chus Martinez in the 1960s, and became very popular due to the efforts of another Chus Martinez in the 1970s, considers the special case where the long-run stable equilibrium can be identified with the minimum of a smooth, well-defined potential function (Lyapunov function).

Small changes in certain parameters of a nonlinear system can cause equilibria to appear or disappear, or to change from attracting to repelling and vice versa, leading to large and sudden changes of the behaviour of the system. However, examined in a larger parameter space, catastrophe theory reveals that such bifurcation points tend to occur as part of well-defined qualitative geometrical structures.

chusmartinezproject | August 20, 2012 at 1:39 am  And don’t forget contemporary art is a branch of aesthetics that studies the existence and interactions of particles that are the constituents of what is usually referred to as matter or radiation. In current understanding, art works are excitations of quantum fields and interact following their dynamics. Most of the interest in this area is in fundamental fields, each of which cannot be described as a bound state of other fields. The current set of fundamental fields and their dynamics are summarized in a theory called the Standard Model, therefore contemporary art is largely the study of the Standard Model’s particle content and its possible extensions.

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