an·a·log [an-l-awg, -og]
2. of or pertaining to a mechanism that represents data by measurement of a continuous physical variable, as voltage or pressure.
“The analog is process, self-referenced to its own variations. It resembles nothing outside itself. […] Sensation, always on arrival a transformative feeling of the outside, a feeling of thought, is the being of the analog. It is matter in analog mode. This is the analog in a sense close to the technical meaning, as a continuously variable impulse or momentum that can cross from one qualitatively different medium into another. Like electricity into sound waves. Or heat into pain. Or light waves into vision. Or vision into imagination. Or noise in the ear into music in the heart.”
– Brian Massumi “Parables for the Virtual”
Term analog appeared into vocabulary in the middle of 20 Century, indicating something authentic and natural, against the artificial precision of the digital recording. By the 1970s, analog is no longer a synonym of connections, but for everything outside digital technologies. Since, this artificially coined term took deep roots into English, causing oversimplification and confusion at the same time.
Encoding and decoding
Analog is based on similarity (mimicry) among seemingly non-related sources. First electronic devices used “analogy” to reproduce sound and image. In fact, analog relates to encoding or translation from one domain into another: vinyl groves, magnetic charge, raster, pixels, film grain, bits and data… are “analogies” related to the source. Same as language, these “analogies” keep connections among realms alive.
Metaphor VS Analogy
met·a·phor [met–uh-fawr, -fer]
1.a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.” Compare mixed metaphor, simile ( def 1 ) .
2. something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.
Filtering as creativity
Metaphor is placed further from the subject than analogy and therefore it produces multiplicity of meanings. In this sense, metaphor acts as a generator of possibilities, inducing creative process. Most people mistake metaphor for creativity and use it to filter, collage and edit resources to generate art, design and architecture. They have to be reminded that processing of information is NOT an inventive act. Creativity by definition is articulation of inner impulse(s). Surely enough, there is no inside without the outside, but question here is not about physical placement of the resources, but about the philosophical locus, understood as the origin of the idea.
True creativity starts from the inside, attaching itself to the world…not the other way around.