“Viola’s essay is enigmatic,” says Zzzz. Absolutely. And compelling, and haunting. And not just for porcupines. I know my favorite reading comes up every week, but “Will there be Condominiums in Data Space” really (really) makes the thinking juices flow. To paraphrase one of my grad school mentors, “anything worth blogging once is worth blogging again.” So my earlier thoughts on the porcupine and the condominiums are below. I highly recommend the two videos of Viola: the first interrogates the intertwining of big “why” with big “how” and suggests how easily diverted we are by the little how. The second addresses the “What is data space” question (start about 4′ 15″ in if you are in a hurry).
And now for my answer to Zzzz’s first question: (“I suggest we also understand the parable of the porcupine and the expository sections of the essay as equal outward expressions of the same underlying thing. So, what is that thing?”) I think the thing is a “whole space” and a holistic space — a memory system, and a place defined by a conceptual geometry that varies according to the memory system but is also infinite and already in existence. (see quote in NMR, p, 465 – also discussed below). One wonders what a conversation between Viola and Hegel would sound like….
My bonus question answer (“Is data space a sacred space, a secular space, or something else altogether?”): Data space can be sacred, secular, sublime or colonized by condominiums – it depends on the practitioner: