[NetBehaviour] Reflections on the _New Aesthetic_

Pall Thayer pallthay at gmail.com
Thu Apr 19 02:21:21 CEST 2012

Or maybe not.

On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 8:14 PM, Pall Thayer <pallthay at gmail.com> wrote:
> Here's my knee-jerk reaction to a possible knee-jerk reaction. I think
> we have this tendency to dislike the word "new" in any label (that's
> the other knee-jerk reaction). Having only skimmed Bruce Sterling's
> essays as well, I'm always skeptical when it comes to the term "new".
> Especially when combined with a term that I personally think is often
> misunderstood, like "aesthetic". If you look up "aesthetic" in the
> dictionary, it will probably tell you that it has something to do with
> "beauty". But in a philosophical context, it really has very little to
> do with beauty. It has more to do with tastes and interest. Being
> drawn to something regardless of whether a person is drawn due to a
> sense of beauty, revulsion or something in-between.
> So, let's think about this. "Aesthetic" refers to a "sensibility", so
> "New Aesthetic" would mean that we've developed a new sensibility(?).
> Is that really the case? Let's take the "glitch". When things don't
> perform as they should, is the notion that we might be aesthetically
> drawn to that really something new? I don't know about others but I
> always find it very curious when something "glitches". It peaks my
> curiosity. So, is the "New Aesthetic", as it pertains to the "glitch",
> really a "new" aesthetic or does it simply exploit an existing
> aesthetic? Art is not something that re-invents itself periodically.
> It's more like an evolving being. Nothing is "new" but rather a
> progression of the things that came before it. How about "Next
> Aesthetic"?
> Keep in mind that I'm just entertaining a brain-drain here. Maybe I
> should read the Bruce Sterling essays.
> On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 7:28 PM, mez breeze <netwurker at gmail.com> wrote:
>> -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> Find below a modded version of part of the discussion raging on an alternate
>> list regarding the "New Aesthetic". Enjoy [or don't].
>> ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
>> 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/@netwurker
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> --
> *****************************
> Pall Thayer
> artist
> http://pallthayer.dyndns.org
> *****************************

Pall Thayer

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