But it moves: the new aesthetic, and beauty in a digital age

But it moves: the New Aesthetic & emergent virtual taste, on metaLAB at Harvard, is an interesting window on a very contemporary debate. A quick excerpt (quoting bruce sterling) frames the discussion thus;

[T]he New Aesthetic is a gaudy, network-assembled heap. It’s made of digitized jackstraws that were swept up by a generational sensibility. The products of a “collective intelligence” rarely make much coherent sense.

It was grand work to find and assemble this New Aesthetic wunderkammer, but a heap of eye-catching curiosities don’t constitute a compelling worldview. Look at all of them: Information visualization. Satellite views. Parametric architecture. Surveillance cameras. Digital image processing. Data-mashed video frames. Glitches and corruption artifacts. Voxelated 3D pixels in real-world geometries. Dazzle camou. Augments. Render ghosts. And, last and least, nostalgic retro 8bit graphics from the 1980s.

These are the forms of imagery that Bridle’s collaborators have thrown over his transom. There’s lots, they’re all cool, and most are rather interesting, and some are even profound, but they don’t march together.

2 Responses to “But it moves: the new aesthetic, and beauty in a digital age”

  • Nice find/post Neil – I’ve been keeping an eye on the whole New Aesthetic thing and it’s good to read another perspective on what James Bridle has been talking about:


    His stuff is all very interesting and though provoking but it’s nice to see the debate opening up a bit now. Will be keeping an eye on this and would be interested to hear your take on it Neil (or anyone else for that matter).

  • A marvellous blog! I’m interested in visual communication in the context of health care and the ‘new literacies’ esp. health literacy. Looking through the categories I can’t see ‘literacy’ which surprises me. In terms of visual comms and literacy the generic, free and open access conceptual framework Hodges model may be of interest – Many thanks, Peter @h2cm

    Blog at “Welcome to the QUAD”
    Hodges Health Career – Care Domains – Model
    h2cm: help 2C more – help 2 listen – help 2 care

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