Sunday, October 05, 2014


click photo to enlarge
I've always liked the acronym, WYSIWYG (wizeewig). It originated in web design, particularly with the kind of web editors that behave more like desktop publishing programmes as opposed to the original and more basic html editors. It describes the fact that as you build the page the appearance and position of objects appear as they will in the finished article, rather than as lines of code as is the case with non-WYSIWYG editors. Like many good linguistic ideas it has taken on a life of its own and can now be found applied in areas far beyond computing and web design.

I'd like to see WYSIATI assume a similar widespread use. This acronym is usually attributed to Daniel Kahneman, the Nobel Prize winner in Economics who uses the term in his 2011 book, "Thinking Fast and Slow". He applied it to overconfidence in understanding around the concepts of "known knowns", "known unknowns" etc. Was it used much, or at all, before then? I don't know, but I can claim to have used it on November 14th 2010 in a blog post about the artist Ai Weiwei's display of ceramic sunflower seeds at Tate Modern. It's something that comes to mind when I look at quite a lot of contemporary art because a great deal of it is so devoid of depth, meaning and resonance. With such work what you see is all there is, and what you take away from it is nothing but a lament about another wasted opportunity.

I had this feeling recently when I surveyed some of the art on display around the town of King's Lynn. It was the result of a collaboration between the Norfolk town and the Maison de la Culture d'Amiens in Northern France. I applaud such partnerships and projects: I just wish that they produced a better outcome than the offerings I saw the other day. That includes the example in today's photograph. Apparently, the piece entitled "Rock Around the Fleet" that is located in the old dock basin of the Purfleet River, "is a series of floating buoys with metal designs suggesting seabirds, which evoke a feeling of movement and animation reminiscent of the past." Yes, really!

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (27mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec
Exposure Compensation: 0 EV
Image Stabilisation: On