[NetBehaviour] Accelerationist aesthetics
ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org
Sat Apr 23 14:15:03 CEST 2016
So is this the accelerationist aesthetics question?
Q. How can we as artists and people use the logics & tools of automation
and markets as part of making better art and better life for us all?
>>>when it appeared that the prognostications of the first wave of
accelerationists had partly came true: namely, that the accelerations
inherent in capitalism, specifically the tendency to mobilize more
surplus labour and resources at greater rates of efficiency and
abstraction, would exacerbate the system's inherent contradictions to a
catastrophic point. Only partly came true though: the system did not
collapse but massively reorganized itself (all those would-be John Galts
suddenly all too happy to accept government bail-outs, massive
expropriation of assets from the poor). This required a recalibration of
the theses of that first wave of accelerationists, a recalibration that
perhaps either is reflected in art, or in which<<<
The unfettered development of automation and market-forces is currently
seen as the preserve of people on the political right (who seek to
preserve the status quo or enhance their wealth and power). But who may
at some points ask for time-out (and bail-outs) in order to re-set their
position of advantage.
If I was trolling I'd argue that if you're on the left you're either a
conscious or an unconscious accelerationist. But it's possible to do
things in an un-Accelerationist way - it's not an inescapable or
inevitable cultural condition.
Yes, this is why I declared myself an Accelerationist- it was not a
proud declamation (a la 'I'm a feminist and I'm proud') more an
admission (a la, the declaration at meetings of people participating in
the 12 step programme).
What I think is worth reflecting on (even if only idly) in this
discussion is whether there is anything in one's own life or work that
this strategy would be productive for. What could each of us better
understand and reason about (in some sense) so as to be able to better
Both these points indicate something that Left Accelerationism has been
criticised for from various angles - it is a *selective* acceleration.
Left Accelerationists are critiqued as these social-power-tools (of
automation and market-forces) are seen as inherently dehumanising and
destructive of solidarity and freedom?
On 23/04/16 02:49, Rob Myers wrote:
> On 22/04/16 03:27 AM, ruth catlow wrote:
>> Not that we all need to be in an unending frenzy of communication and
>> exchange. More that we have ever-more nuanced ways to sense the
>> significance of different kinds of participation: in a loop of unwitting
>> participation and active collaboration and organisation.
> I think this (and Simon & Pall's conversation) raises two important
> points about "Accelerationism".
> The first is that contemporary society appears to have speeded up
> anyway. We can debate whether progress or the economy has stalled, but
> our experience of life seems to involve the compression of time by
> technology and by socioeconomic demands.
> The obvious critic of this kind of speed and acceleration, as Paul
> mentioned, is Virilio. Who I think relates speed to power in a way that
> makes sense of our experience of it as disenfranchising.
> Wanting to slow down from *this* kind of acceleration isn't a bad thing
> and is in fact the end point of MAP/Fixing The Future -style
> Accelerationism: let's get the machines to do the busy-work so we can do
> something actually useful with our time instead.
> The second is that Accelerationism isn't a historical epoch like
> postmodernism or globalisation. It's a *strategy*.
> If I was trolling I'd argue that if you're on the left you're either a
> conscious or an unconscious accelerationist. But it's possible to do
> things in an un-Accelerationist way - it's not an inescapable or
> inevitable cultural condition.
> What I think is worth reflecting on (even if only idly) in this
> discussion is whether there is anything in one's own life or work that
> this strategy would be productive for. What could each of us better
> understand and reason about (in some sense) so as to be able to better
> change it?
> Both these points indicate something that Left Accelerationism has been
> criticised for from various angles - it is a *selective* acceleration.
>> I am currently showing a live networked video piece, I created with
>> Gareth Foote, called /Time is Speeding Up/ at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre
>> up in Scunthorpe as part of the show We Are Not Alone. I have no idea
>> whether this is an Accelerationist artwork.
> It's increasing our ability to perceive and reason about our situation,
> so quite possibly.
>> I agonized about the aesthetics of the work- at first- so un-"cool", so
>> un-cyber - because the humans are so alive AND they make the work.
>> But now I'm really happy with it and would like to assert a place for
>> this almost folksy aesthetic (rather than a rush to slick, black
>> fluidity) in post-capitalist art.
> Bladerunner's lived-in street-culture future is paradigmatically cyber,
> but I do know what you mean. The work is qualitative (or has a strong
> qualitative element), and this is in contrast to the strong quantitative
> bias of shiny information graphics and *some* proposals for
> Accelerationist aesthetics.
> - Rob.
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