Atlas of Places

Ērādō I


[…] Not so, according to Wiener, who maintains that information means order and that entropy is its opposite. Wiener, however, is using information theory to explore the power of communication of an electronic brain, in order to determine what makes a message comprehensible. He is not concerned with the differences between information and meaning. And yet, at a particular point in his work, he makes an interesting declaration: “A piece of information, in order to contribute to the general information of a community, must say something substantially different from the community’s previous common stock of information.” To illustrate this point, he cites the example of great artists, whose chief merit is that they introduce new ways of saying or doing into their community. He explains the public consumption of their work as the consequence of the work’s inclusion within a collective background—the inevitable process of popularization and banalization that occurs to any novelty, any original work, the moment people get used to it.

On reflection, one sees that this is precisely the case with everyday speech, whose very power of communication and information seems to be directly proportional to the grammatical and syntactic rules it constantly eludes—the very same rules deemed necessary to the transmission of meaning. It often happens that in a language (here taken to mean a system of probability), certain elements of disorder may in fact increase the level of information conveyed by a message.

Ērādō I
Ērādō 1.1 - Offshore Beaubourg
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Ērādō 1.2 - Louvre Terminal
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Ērādō 1.3 - Parisian Islands
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Ērādō 1.4 - Vatican Resort
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Ērādō 1.5 - Périphérique des Vosges

Text: Umberto Eco, The Open Work, 1965

Posted: December 2018
Category: Research