[-empyre-] The New Aesthetic: Seeing Like Machines

mez breeze netwurker at gmail.com
Wed Sep 12 09:44:07 EST 2012

Nice timing, seeing Bridle has reactivated the New Aesthetic tumblr in the
last two weeks or so.

The more I think about NA, the more I'm inclined to ponder whether Bridle
is using it as an adjunct promotional strategy that mimics
start-up/entrepreneurial frameworks: grab a
manifest-yet-still-edge-worthy-to-some spinable idea, run it through a
concept grinder and link it with a delivery system (in this case, the
dangling carrot-bait of merging digital concepts with physical that
theorists/academics/creatives/intellectuals just can't resist, with high
profile figures being drawn to pontification + publicizing). This "debate
bait" then actualises as an emergent discourse with assured (built-in)
funding/exposure strategies through clever generation of its own
marketing/PR machine - complete with monetisation through conference
creation + academic publications/hype/circuit creation - rather than it
acting to ideologically frame a legitimately culturally relevant paradigm
that highlights "new" corresponding forms of cultural interpretations
regarding the fusion of the digital and physical?

I'm not trying to assert that Bridle is intentionally aping this
entrepreneurial strategy, but just having a quick examination of his
previous attempts to kick-start (using this term in an oldskool sense, not
in the crowdfunding model sense) buzz-worthy/coinable frames of reference
such as his 2010 labelling attempt: "I want to give it a name, and at this
point I’m calling it *Network Realism*"
http://booktwo.org/notebook/network-realism/, or ideas evidenced on his
"hand-drawn" website: http://shorttermmemoryloss.com/moleskine/ to his
audition "tape" for TED2013:
http://talentsearch.ted.com/video/James-Bridle-A-new-aesthetic-fo makes me

And if Bridle is indeed covertly emulating an entrepreneurial model, and is
in fact a concept-"manifestering" mastermind, we're all playing our roles
perfectly, with me more than most: http://www.facebook.com/TheNewAesthetic.


| http://www.vizify.com/mez-breeze
| http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mez_Breeze

On Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 4:48 AM, Patrick Lichty <plichty at colum.edu> wrote:

> September on –empyre soft-skinned space: The New Aesthetic: Seeing Like
> Machines
> Moderated by Patrick Lichty (US) with invited discussants:
> Rahel Alma, David M. Berry, Ina Blom, Nick Briz, Amber Case, Marcelo
> Coelho, Michael Dieter, David Golumbia, Julia Kaganskiy, Michelle Kasprzak,
> Jon Lebkowsky, Patrick Lichty, Joanne McNeil, Hrag Vartanian
> The New Aesthetic: Seeing Like Machines
> It’s been months since Bruce Sterling delivered his endnote talk at SXSW
> highlighting James Bridle et al’s panel on The New Aesthetic, and there
> have been furious conversations about it. If we take the replies by Watz et
> al on the The Creators Project blog as an indication, there is a bit of
> dismissal of the idea from my interpretation. However, many of us are still
> talking about the idea, but why? I still believe that a cultural chord was
> struck that is a result of extant developments in contemporary digital art
> of the 2000’s that lead right to The New Aesthetic blog, or something like
> it. Where I and others argue that The New Aesthetic might be a
> non-movement, I would like to re-imagine that it is actually indicative of
> other cultural phenomena and New Media proto-movements. These have to do
> with issues of curation, precedents in New Media “movements”, and the shape
> of culture in New Media society. Where I think Bridle et al might have done
> a disservice to the idea of NA is through a partial superficiality in the
> case of a subject, while ephemeral, is not superficial at all.
> Why? It is for the reason that in the current day and age, ephemerality is
> often mistaken for superficiality. Net.culture by default is mercuric, and
> technoculture is typified by the fact that things like the iPad and tablets
> have become nearly ubiquitous within two years of the technology’s
> emergence. This is reflected in online culture, through the torrent (pun
> intended) of images spilling through social media like blogs, Facebook,
> image boards, and tumblrs like The New Aesthetic. Love or hate it, what
> Bridle describes is a phenomenology of this torrent of images as an
> aesthetic and their generation by technology. For this month’s discussion
> on Empyre which will last only three weeks due to the disappearance of a
> week in the black hole of the start of the academic semester, we will have
> a floating group of key correspondents on the subject who have been posting
> and publishing around the Net on The New Aesthetic.
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