The digital (or computational) presents us with a number of challenges which we can understand within this commonly used set of binaries:
- Linearity vs Hypertextuality
- Narrative vs Database
- Permanent vs Ephemeral
- Bound vs Unbound
- Individual vs Social
- Deep vs Shallow
- Focused vs Distracted
- Close Read vs Distant Read
- Fixed vs Processual
- Digital (virtual) vs Real (physical)These binaries can be useful means of thinking through many of the positions and debates that take place within both theoretical and empirical work on mapping the digital….
…the New Aesthetic is perhaps the beginning of a new kind of Archive, an Archive in Motion – what Bernard Stiegler called the Anamnesis (the embodied act of memory as recollection or remembrance) combined with Hypomnesis(the making-technical of memory through writing, photography, machines, etc.). Thus, particularly in relation to the affordances given by the networked and social media within which it circulates, combined with a set of nascent practices of collection, archive and display, the New Aesthetic is distinctive in a number of ways.
Firstly, it gives a description and a way of representing and mediating the world in and through the digital, that is understandable as an infinite archive (or collection). Secondly, it alternately highlights that something digital is a happening in culture – and which we have only barely been conscious of – and the way in which culture is happening to the digital. Lastly, the New Aesthetic points the direction of travel for the possibility of a Work of Art in the digital age – something Heidegger thought impossible under the conditions of technicity, but remains open, perhaps under computationality.
In this, the New Aesthetic is, however, a pharmakon, in that it is both potentially poison and cure for an age of pattern matching and pattern recognition. If the archive was the set of rules governing the range of expression following Foucault, and the database the grounding cultural logic of software cultures following Manovich, we might conclude that the New Aesthetic is the cultural eruption of the grammatisation of software logics into everyday life. The New Aesthetic under a symptomology, can be seen surfacing computational patterns, and in doing so articulates and re-presents the unseen and little understood logic of computation, which lies like plasma under, over, and in the interstices between the modular elements of an increasingly computational society.
Dormant moving image maker with interests in music, film, games, politics and retro-tech. Any opinions expressed are my own.