An Essay on the New Aesthetic

A post found on The New Aesthetic Tumblr

A post found on The New Aesthetic Tumblr

The “New Asthetic” is a term coined by James Bridle, and collected on Tumblr, further shaped by Matt Jones’ comments on “sensor-vernacular” and the “robot-readable world.” It is an investigation in the ways that imagry for and from machines has become a popular visual culture of its own, even shaping behaviors (as Tom Armitage asks, “How long before, rather than waving, or shaking hands, we greet each other with a calibration pose”?) If that is still confusing, perhaps Bruce Sterling might better explain the “New Aesthetic.”

In “An Essay on the New Aesthetic,” Sterling begins discussing the SXSW panel on the New Aesthetic, which included Bridle and Rhizome editor Joanne McNeil, in addition to Ben Terrett, Aaron Straup Cope, and Russell Davies. From there he explains, in almost a manifesto of sorts, just where these influences came from and where it is going:

Look at those images objectively. Scarcely one of the real things in there would have made any sense to anyone in 1982, or even in 1992. People of those times would not have known what they were seeing with those New Aesthetic images. It’s the news, and it’s the truth.

Next, the New Aesthetic is culturally agnostic. Most anybody with a net connection ought to be able to see the New Aesthetic transpiring in real time. It is British in origin (more specifically, it’s part and parcel of a region of London seething with creative atelier “tech houses”). However, it exists wherever there is satellite surveillance, locative mapping, smartphone photos, wifi coverage and Photoshop.

The New Aesthetic is comprehensible. It’s easier to perceive than, for instance, the “surrealism” of a fur-covered teacup. Your Mom could get it. It’s funny. It’s pop. It’s transgressive and punk. Parts of it are cute.

It’s also deep. If you want to get into arcane matters such as interaction design, computational aesthetics, covert surveillance, military tech, there’s a lot of room for that activity in the New Aesthetic. The New Aesthetic carries a severe, involved air of Pynchonian erudition.

It’s contemporary. It’s temporal rather than atemporal. Atemporality is all about cerebral, postulated, time-refuting design-fictions. Atemporality is for Zenlike gray-eminence historian-futurist types. The New Aesthetic is very hands-on, immediate, grainy and evidence-based. Its core is a catalogue of visible glitches in the here-and-now, for the here and for the now.

It requires close attention. If you want to engage with the New Aesthetic, then you must become involved with some contemporary, fast-moving technical phenomena. The New Aesthetic is inherently modish because it is ferociously attached to modish, passing objects and services that have short shelf-lives. There is no steampunk New Aesthetic and no remote-future New Aesthetic. The New Aesthetic has no hyphen-post, hyphen-neo or hyphen-retro. They don’t go there, because that’s not what they want….

Source: Rhizome | Read the full article

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4 Responses to "An Essay on the New Aesthetic"

  1. I really liked your blog.Thanks Again.

  2. Thank you for your blog post.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  3. Santosh says:

    With young artists, you find the getserat purity. When you buy from the first or second show, you’re inside the confidence building, the identity building of an artist. It’s not just about buying a piece. It’s about buying into someone’s life and where they are going with it. It’s a mutual commitment, which is pretty intense. I tend to have the pessimistic view that the art world is run entirely by money and reputation, and that artistic integrity and appreciation for the art itself is completely secondary. It was nice to be reminded that this isn’t always the case, and that collectors do appreciate art and wish to suport artists. There’s a certain warmth to the fair which the auction sorely lacks, and it’s nice to be reminded that this warmth does exist in the art world. I didn’t know about the Art Basel every year in Miami, but I’m really interested in going now. I’ve been to a lot of art fairs, as well as craft fairs, and I almost always really enjoy them. The ones I’ve been to are, however, much smaller than Art Basel, and they are almost entirely local. I usually enjoy listening to and speaking with the artists and craftspeople. Having been going to them for years in this area, however, can get repetitive with many artists creating similar pieces or new artists copycatting more successful ones. However, being able to watch those trends rise and fall within this subculture is always really interesting.

  4. Subculture is the word, right!

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