Michael, nice to hear from you!
Thanks for pointing to Dan Phiffer's post
(which for some reason I didn't get in my in tray when he sent it).
It is really interesting.
It's great to hear from someone who was actually at the New Aesthetic
panel at SXSW. I'm glad he linked to Dan Catt's article
(http://is.gd/dancatt) in his post, which is, IMHO, a fascinating
analysis of one specific part of the New Aesthetic, and a good
example of what's he's describing in the quotation you cite to below.
I think battering the New Aesthetic with the traditional "but it's
not new!" truncheon is missing the point. A set of observations about
how technology is changing our lived world now, will be necessarily -
and perhaps even fundamentally - be different to the set of
observations that were made 5, 10, 20 years ago. That's not to
devalue to the observations that were made it the past, or to eschew
the essential need to tether what we see and say now, to what was
seen and said before. But like Dan Phiffer, I am a bit mystified
(and miffed) by the "we've seen it all before" line of critique.
The technologised society that we're existing within today in April
2012, is not the same technologised society we were talking about at
InfoWar in Ars Electronica in 1998 (or any other moment we might use
an an example). Just because there may have been some observations,
practices, lines of enquiry, theses in our community which were
profound and now seem even prophetic, doesn't somehow mean the
conversation has been had verbatim before.
The technologised space that Alexis Madrigal describes in this
just published in The Atlantic a few moments ago, is a materially
different space to the one cogently, powerfully, and poetically
explored and articulated by the artists, aestheticians, and
(dare-I-say), proto-critical engineers that have come before. The
"particular situation" that Phiffer refers to in his post, and you
quote below, is one in which society has now truly become saturated
with digital technology in ways we all expected and predicted, some
years ago, but we couldn't possibly have predicted or described all
of the effects of this. What I find interesting about, not just the
New Aesthetic, but the work of a new generation of creatives in this
space, is that they are making fundamentally important observations
of how this technology is transforming society *now*. Their voice is
needed and is valid, and sneering at them for being ahistorical
isn't, in my view, particularly helpful.
When I read Bruce's article, what struck me as one of the most
important lines, one I go back to again and again is this one:
"Modern creatives who want to work in good faith will have to fully
disengage from the older generation's mythos of phantoms, and
masterfully grasp the genuine nature of their own creative tools and
platforms. Otherwise, they will lack comprehension and command of
what they are doing and creating, and they will remain reduced to the
freak-show position of most twentieth century tech art. That's what
is at stake."
This is clearly contentious, and I'm sure many here will disagree
with this call-to-action as a cultural strategy (and I can't comment
on whether this has anything particularly to bring to bear to/on The
New Aesthetic). But I am personally excited and intrigued by the
idea that a different group of people, some from different fields,
some from different generations, are earnestly exploring topics which
are close to our heart with a different sensibility.
I think that's something to value, something to watch closely,
something to debate, rather rather dismiss.
And Michael, I think you're right: "The best work about this has not
yet been made."
Date: Wed, 18 Apr 2012 15:59:44 -0400
Reply-To: Michael Connor <[log in to unmask]>
Sender: "Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org"
<[log in to unmask]>
From: Michael Connor <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [NEW-MEDIA-CURATING] RES: belatedly new
Honor, thanks for making that point. I feel like I'm following this
debate through the wrong end of a telescope, but it seems like the
central point for discussion that Dan offered a while back was a bit
lost in the kerfuffle over branding and self-promotion:
"The point is that we are in this particular situation now, with its
drones and GPS phones and face matching algorithms. The New Aesthetic
label might be a useful shorthand for discussing those conditions. I
could see taking the stance that our conditions are not in fact
changing so drastically, or that this particular shorthand is flawed.
I'm just glad to see this stuff being considered outside explicitly
Although the circumstances that Dan describes do have long histories
or genealogies, they remain poorly understood (despite the efforts of
the giants of the past, Cage or Richter or the Situationists or the
Vasulkas). I love to see new work that grapples with these
developments, and the questions they raise about human subjectivity,
behavior, agency and perception, in insightful and revealing ways.
The best work about this has not yet been made.
>On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 3:27 PM, Rob Myers <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> On 04/18/2012 05:17 PM, Saul Albert wrote:
>>> New Aesthetics is to The Internet of Things as net.art was to New Media?
>> You win the Internet (of Things). But I'd point out that TNA is not in
>> itself art. TNA is, as its name states, an aesthetic. The Tumblr blog is a
>> presentation of examples of that aesthetic. This presentation is essayistic,
>> but it would be a mistake to regard it as a failure to write an essay.
>> - Rob.
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