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<nettime> Reflections on the _New Aesthetic_
mez breeze on Thu, 19 Apr 2012 09:27:15 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Reflections on the _New Aesthetic_


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Find below a modded version of part of the discussion raging on an alternate list regarding the "New Aesthetic". Enjoy [or don't].
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In an effort to keep this manageable [lump me into one of your keeerazzzy glitch/net.art/web-point-
infinity/relational & new aesthetically-defined "artistic" categories if you will] here's some [non-random + IMO relevant but not necessarily cohesive] points:

1. I've only skimmed the Bruce Sterling essays [both of them] and don't have an in-depth overview of the term "New Aesthetic" [henceforth now to be known as "Phrase That Will Not Be Named" in an effort to reduce the ridiculous amount of verification we are bubble-developing around it]. So there.

2. My flickering attention-focus [hullo, continuous partial attn syndrome] has honed in on this particular attempt at avant-garde labelling because of how it perpetuates the tradition of "name the new art phase in order to perform/get x" [whether x = ego aggrandisement/monetary wealth/extend an individuals prosperity>cred value]. To employ a relevant phrase: it just smells wrong. And by smelling wrong I'm in no way referring to Bridle or his content [I have been rss_internalising his tumblr for some time now = it rawks: though I had no idea of his name until this whole labelling blerghness blew up] or any other glitch-luvin' practitioners or creative types. After all, I'm one of them.

3. My seeming lack of attention to research regarding the "Phrase That Will Not Be Named", or lack of "deep (articulated) thought" regarding the issue isn't indicative of a negative outlook on "the glitch". Nor is it due to lack of engagement with the actual material/pulsing creative output that's [possibly, hopefully] superseding many flattened contemporary "art scenes" [read: institutions as opposed to practices]. My lack of focused attention is due to the fact that *i'm_actually_living_the_aesthetic_in_question* + have been for years [New? bah!]. The life of a "Phrase That Will Not Be Named" advocate *requires* continuous partial attention: it *requires* a profound adherence to deriving substantiated [yet seemingly ephemeral] meaning from "the now" [ie connective novelty formation, expressive + anonymous appropriation devoid of ego/exclusive monetisation, the continuous fact of networked/communication immediacy/recursion, a burgeoning maker/hacktivist practice-aesthetic, the growing irrelevancy of standardised content/institutionalised values + associated comprehension loadings]. Dragging an antiquated, faux-trendoid label and slapping it over set of practices that have been in operation for as long as directed digital communication/tech platforms have coalesced = bad whiff, not to mention downright offensive. It's the problem of seeking to stuff uncategorised, non-art-defined forms into format [+ vice versa], of assigning crusty paradigms/terms to output [like Bridle + his tumblr] that's being subsumed into a discourse designed to pinpoint/catalogue/perpetuate. Drawing a [restrictive labelling] box around a set of _expression_[s] that exist as working practices seems like inverse encouragement: this disappointing need to contextualise>label>scene-create>institutionalise>monetise = sad[panda making. Google "sad panda" if you don't get the reference].

4. Content curation isn't art. The urge to perform it may be similar to what drives artists to produce: in many cases, content curation is a ceaseless search for connection through firehosed content streams/"novelty" verification that may just ellipse the need for art/culture classifications. Is it possible to conceptualise a world where the need to frame practice/process/product through cultural or artistic filters is largely obsolete? [reddit.com + 4chan.org + 9gag.com + tumblr.com = giving it a decent go.]

5. Appropriating + remixing graphic markers/standards from marginalised or "other-fied" disciplines/decades does not a new genre/paradigm make, especially when begging to be [or deliberately engineered to be] monetised by a system and/or individuals determined to emergent-capture [yes, this includes institutionally sanctioned galleries + alternative galleries + oldschool curators + newskool aggregators + conference-merry-go-rounders + theorists + panels + karma-seeking discourse boffins]. Codify, hipsterise + aggrandise at your leisure, but be prepared for watered-down, digestible, bastardised versions of worthwhile social + expressive currencies.

6. And so it goes.

7. This too will pass.


[Mostly-too-large-2-chew]Chunks,
Mez/ {AT} netwurker

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