Kim H. Veltman

Historical Heritage and Future Creativity

First International Workshop on ICTs, Arts and Cultural Heritage with Special Emphasis on Applications, Local Development and Local Learning, 5 May 2003, San Sebastian, 2003 (in press).

1. Introduction
2. Contextualisation of Space and Time
3. Self-Describing Cultural Objects
4. Alternative Interpretations and World Views
5. Quotations and References as Potential Keys to Creativity
6. Kinds of Visual Quoting
7. Alternative Ways to Creativity
8. Universals and Particulars

1. Introduction

A series of technological developments are radically transforming what is possible in the realm of new media. We are told that Telecommunications, Broadcast and Internet, which were perceived as separate networks will converge into a single network within the next decade. Developments in miniaturization in the direction of nanotechnology mean that electronic devices, which once consumed much space will “disappear” from sight and become part of ambient intelligence. As a result walls, windows and other surfaces can function as computer screens and interaction devices. A report from the BBC News (12 January 2000) indicated that “1 gramme of dried DNA can hold as much information as 1 trillion CDs.” Once this becomes a reality then we can almost literally have the whole world in our hands as far as replicas of culture go. Whether we have a small portable screen or large fixed projection plane will largely be a question of functional need and convenience.

Parallel with this there has been a dramatic increase in collaborative technologies. For instance, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project makes use of volunteers’ computers while their screen savers are on: i.e. using their idle capacity. On 30 July 2000 there were 2,192,077 such volunteers entailed 11.17 trillion instructions (or teraflops) per second. By 28 April 2003 there were 4,454, 985 volunteers whose computers entailed 32.60 teraflops. This equals 50% of the combined power of the 500 top computers two years ago. There are now more than 660 million everyday users of computers. If all of these were linked for collaborative work, their spare capacity would entail approximately 4,620 teraflops a second. If the power of computers and the number of users continues to rise apace then the potentials are enormous.

This paper reviews some recent developments and explores some implications and potentials of these new technologies specifically with respect to creativity. There are trends towards contextualization, objects that describe themselves, alternative interpretations and world-views. It is suggested that the challenges of finding new ways of visual as well as verbal quoting and new ways of combining universal and particular offer new roads for creativity.

Read full article