Friday, January 7, 2011

Searching for Quality...

Carlo Rotella's opinion article in the Boston Globe yesterday struck a chord with me in a number of ways. First, it started on an anti-technology direction, “Why I don’t allow laptops in my classroom,” but then switched to a more favorable and interesting view. He then argues for the need to distill the current large quantity of media/social media into quality.

The example he uses is the viral hit “Thru-YOU,” by Kutiman, a compilation of tunes assembled from YouTube samples. The video, and in particular the tune called “The Mother of All Funk Chords”, shows that large quantities of uneven quality material can be distilled to produce a new level of quality. It is a good demonstration of how the great streams of online information, in this case YouTube videos, can be used to produce unexpected musical quality.

Rotella’s quote sums it up:

“But Kutiman offers a reminder that quantity is not the enemy of quality, and that to live well online one must learn to transmute quantity into quality.”

It obviously works for Funk Chords. Can it work for architecture as well as we sift large quantities of research, articles, blogs and tweets in a search for quality evidence for our design process?