The New Aesthetic?

April 12, 2012 in Thinking by

Championing what he reckons could be a new movement, The New Aesthetic, Bruce Sterling posted on Wired at the weekend:

Art movements used to be Left Bank café tables where disaffected creatives quarreled about headlines in newspapers. “Theory objects” from the Internet are squamous, crabgrass-like entities, where people huddle around swollen, unstable databases. We know more or less how analog art movements once behaved. We don’t yet know much at all about collectively-intelligent theory-object “shareable concepts,” whether they’re worth anything or can deliver anything. Maybe they will brilliantly synergize. Maybe they will ignobly crash. Maybe they’ll have the mayfly lifespans of their hardware support. Maybe they will become things even harder to describe than they are now.

The New Aesthetic comes in the form of a Tumblr  curated by James Birdle. It displays a selection of work, photography, and arrticles which are concerned with new ways of looking at the world, frequently through the lens of technology (there is more on their ideas here, including a couple of lectures).

Bruce Sterling’s idea of a new movement seems strange in a world of critiques and transience, not to say that Sterling doesn’t go on to criticise later. The Idea of newness is one that is an increasingly difficult concept, when (seemingly) all extremes of creative doctrine have been exhausted. When creativity has jumped from artistic dogmas of expression in the form off abstract-expressionism and the futurists to post-modern free-for-alls of re-appropriation, everything seems to have happened, repetition seems unavoidable, particularly when it comes to basic aesthetics. Sterling mentions particularly obvious repetitions- such as use of 8Bit graphics. These criticisms take away some of the idealism from the early parts of the article.

The Creators Project have curated a selection of responses, all very interesting, most of which go further than just critiquing the New Aesthetic itself, and onto moving looking at ideas of newness.

Not strictly a curated post, but one that is important to the ideas and values of Open CuRate It, what do you think of the New Aesthetic?


*UPDATE* Adrian McEwan of DoES Liverpool brought this article from Dan Catt to my attention. It explains why the use of pixellation within the New Aesthetic is not, in fact, retro and breaks down computer vision further.


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