[spectre] Reflections on the _New Aesthetic_

mez breeze netwurker at gmail.com
Thu Apr 19 01:28:46 CEST 2012

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
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

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.

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