[-empyre-] The New Aesthetic - questions and conclusions

Jon Lebkowsky jon.lebkowsky at gmail.com
Mon Oct 1 22:18:46 EST 2012

Bishop refers to Bruce Sterling's piece; I think it's worth revisiting his
points. (Incidentally, one of his points is that NA ignores PM).

I ran back for a quick scan and got this:

Theory object, shareable concept
Network-centric and "crowd-sourcey"
Aesthetic truth
Culturally agnostic
Comprehensible but deep
Temporal, immediate
Constructive (vs deconstructive)
Generational (not so much a rejection of the past, and a willing

Gaudy heap, chaotic, incoherent
Machine vision fallacy
Logjam vs dam
Where did the people go? Where is the aura, where is the credibility?
"Rubbish is what appears when one is trying to hide out in the tall weeds
instead of manfully sweeping the floors."
"a genuine aesthetic movement with a weak aesthetic metaphysics"

It's a design fiction: "By metaphorically pretending that machines are our
friends, we can see what they ‘see,’ and think what they ‘think’… We do get
a payoff for that effort. We achieve creative results that we would not
have gotten without that robot disguise."

"…the New Aesthetic is trying to hack a modern aesthetic, instead of
thinking hard enough and working hard enough to build one."

On Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 9:56 AM, Simon Biggs <simon at littlepig.org.uk> wrote:

> The New Aesthetic was extensively discussed on Netbehaviour some months
> ago. The primary critiques of it seemed to be 1. it isn't new and has been
> concocted in ignorance of both practical and theoretical work that has been
> underway for over three decades and 2. with its focus on aesthetics it
> disables more nuanced approaches to social assemblage and the role of
> creative practice within that. GH suggested that Post-Modern approaches to
> these subjects are boring and old hat. I couldn't disagree more (I
> generally agree with GH). PM seeks to work against the kind of reductivism
> NA represents. Huge intellectual and attitudinal strides have been made
> using the tools it provides. NA seeks to negate that. The only benefit I
> can see in NA is that it reminds us of what is valuable in what might be
> too familiar.
> best
> Simon
> On 29 Sep 2012, at 13:47, Rob Myers wrote:
> On 09/28/2012 03:22 PM, Jon Lebkowsky wrote:
> I think NA so far is more acknowledgement than movement, more
> curation  than active construction. What would it take to transform NA from
> passive to active force? Or does it make more sense to look for activist
> forces to emerge?
> TNA is managerial capital's digital bleedthrough into the everyday. Things
> finding their own use for the street. It's something that you experience
> rather than do. It's something to ironise [further] rather than embrace
> directly IMO.
> TNA is a quantitative shift big enough to represent a qualitative shift.
> We weren't doing this in the gallery and in the faculty twenty years ago
> because it wasn't the pervasive aesthetic epiphenomena of logistics
> technology.
> With regards to "cool", the TNA tumblr can be certainly be seen as design
> fiction cool hunting (Bigend would love it). But the history of the
> creation and instrumentalization of cool (pace Liu) sits productively
> uncomfortably with this particular distillation of cool.
> The question that TNA cries out is "why does the world look like this"?
> The answers are obvious, but the devil is in how we cross-reference the
> details.
> - Rob.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
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> Simon Biggs
> simon at littlepig.org.uk http://www.littlepig.org.uk/ @SimonBiggsUK skype:
> simonbiggsuk
> s.biggs at ed.ac.uk Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh
> http://www.eca.ac.uk/circle/  http://www.elmcip.net/
> http://www.movingtargets.org.uk/
> MSc by Research in Interdisciplinary Creative Practices
> http://www.ed.ac.uk/studying/postgraduate/degrees?id=656&cw_xml=details.php
> _______________________________________________
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Jon Lebkowsky (@jonl)
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