are u pre, post or mid new aesthetic? and what is your day job? and why?
The short answer to your first question is … none of the above …
I have to admit ignorance as to what pre, post or mid new aesthetic is. The New Aesthetic as it is is something that I haven’t really warmed to (I have a written a post about it back in April here - it isn’t my finest piece of writing, I can’t say I was totally happy with it, and I got a bigger response from people pointing out it’s grammatical errors more than anything …). Sometimes when I hear the words, I want to punch someone in the face (the widespread use of the term got annoying faster than you can say ‘Post-Modernism’ …)
I feel I should probably elaborate more on why I’m not really happy with it as a package (but this should only be considered thoughts on the subject rather than claiming any intellectual authority or dismissal of it). I’m not denying any of it’s concerns or the rise of certain technologies and their implications in the world, it’s just that some of methods, conclusions and patterns which this subject brings up can be extended to a bigger and older narratives which just isn’t discussed.
When the topic hit big, I felt that there where a lot of smart people making statements which were factually not accurate. I won’t name names or point out any articles, but instead of being a conversation that enlightens, the term felt like a signifier of ignorance. I feel that maybe these people have never owned a Playstation and played the Metal Gear Solid series (which, if you remove the Anime soap-opera, contains the concerns of modern science and military technology, plus some smart game-world / real-world tricks), or have read Steven Pinker’s “How The Mind Works” (which discusses a wide-range of computer experiments to understand how evolutionary biology functions.) There were claims that we are now seeing the mind of a computer, what a computer sees which I believe is false - it’s a product of computational instructions and design considerations for human interpretation.
I think the concerns of the New Aesthetic is one of an apparent ‘digital diffusion’ but one which is only focused in this millennia. While it is obvious that there are new technologies and ideas (with their implications both creatively and politically) are important, I feel that a bigger picture is being left out, one which stretches back to the post World War 2 Information boom, certainly from the 1970’s. I maybe wrong, but I think there is an educational problem which the New Aesthetic doesn’t address.
It’s as much a product of military research (from digital camouflage to computer object tracking), the rise of the electronics industry from Asia, the Microsoft mantra of ‘A Computer in Every Home’ which pushed their affordability, the tools of Adobe, and the rise of the smart-phone, all of which happened before the 21st century, all which have had generational impacts from one to the other (if mostly wider availability and affordability). Yes, it’s a very simplified list, all for brevity.
In parts of my older media arts research, there are noticeable patterns with artists that have used a computer as a creative tool in the 70’s, to those which use them today. Zdeněk Sýkora paintings resemble early Processing sketches. Lillian Schwartz’s films use digital filters and effects to produce a binary look. The periodical Computer Graphics and Art (1976-78) features examples of digital design becoming physical reality, and the 1970 art exhibition ‘Software’ features many examples of a technological crossover. Even Salvador Dali has painted a digital piece.
Obviously, there are differences between then and now (especially with High Definition visuals, more processing power, interconnectivity), but some patterns which are adopted with the New Aesthetic do go further than maybe intended.
I don’t feel I’m in any position to give a name to a thing, but I am drawn to the idea of a ‘Black Mirror’ Age. It name comes from a television show written by Charlie Brooker, and he describes it thus:
The “black mirror” of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smart-phone.
I would add that the metaphor could extend to the caves of a camera eye, or a mirror which the Kinect brings to interactive experiences. Black Mirror Politics are the concerns of military and surveillance technologies, and politics with a small ‘p’ can be our own personal relationships with technology (in a similar way in which Marshall McLuhan was trying to preach). Black Mirror Literacy, the understanding, diffusion, journey and combination of various technologies over time. Black Mirror Archives, which allow us to view older digital artefacts, appreciate and remix in higher definitions.
As for the second question, the less said the better …