Stories from the New Aesthetic

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Last week, Stories from the New Aesthetic, part of Rhizome's New Silent Series, took place at The New Museum of Comtemporary Art. 

The New Aesthetic is an ongoing research project by James Bridle, investigating the intersections of culture and technology, history and memory, and the physical and the digital. At a panel at South by Southwest this past March, Aaron Straup Cope, Ben Terrett, James Bridle, Joanne McNeil, and Russell Davies discussed ideas related to the project, which sparked a series of responses and ideas from artists, writers, and theorists across the web.

For this event, Bridle was joined by McNeil and Cope again to share their stories related to these ideas.

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Stories from the New Aesthetic: Oct 11 at the New Museum

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"This letter was sent to a Russian student by her French friend, who manually wrote the address that she received by e-mail." Mojibake diacritics translated to Cyrillic by the postal employees via The New Aesthetic

On Thursday, October 11, please join us for the upcoming event: Stories from the New Aesthetic:

The New Aesthetic is an ongoing research project by James Bridle, investigating the intersections of culture and technology, history and memory, and the physical and the digital. For this event, Bridle will be joined by Aaron Straup Cope and Joanne McNeil to discuss stories related to these ideas.

James Bridle is a writer, publisher, and technologist. He writes a regular column for the Observer (UK) and his writing has also appeared in Wired, Domus, Icon, and widely online. He speaks worldwide on the intersections of literature, technology, and culture, and writes about what he does at booktwo.org.

Aaron Straup Cope is currently Senior Engineer at the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum. Before that, he was Senior Engineer at Flickr focusing on all things geo-, machinetag-, and galleries-related between 2004 and 2009. From 2009 to 2011, he was Design Technologist and Director of Inappropriate Project Names at Stamen Design, where he created the prettymaps project.

Joanne McNeil is the editor of Rhizome. She is a 2012 USC Annenberg-Getty Arts Journalism Fellow. Her writing has appeared in Modern Painters, Wired (UK), the Los Angeles Times, and other web and print publications. 

Thursday, October 11th, 2012 7 p.m.
at the New Museum Tickets

For more information on the project, check out Will Wiles' "The Machine Gaze" for Aeon Magazine.

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RECOMMENDED READING: An Essay on the New Aesthetic

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Maps TD via The New Aesthetic

The "New Asthetic" is a term coined by James Bridle, and collected on Tumblr, further shaped by Matt Jones' comments on "sensor-vernacular" and the "robot-readable world." It is an investigation in the ways that imagry for and from machines has become a popular visual culture of its own, even shaping behaviors (as Tom Armitage asks, "How long before, rather than waving, or shaking hands, we greet each other with a calibration pose"?) If that is still confusing, perhaps Bruce Sterling might better explain the "New Aesthetic."

In "An Essay on the New Aesthetic," Sterling begins discussing the SXSW panel on the New Aesthetic, which included Bridle and Rhizome editor Joanne McNeil, in addition to Ben Terrett, Aaron Straup Cope, and Russell Davies. From there he explains, in almost a manifesto of sorts, just where these influences came from and where it is going:

Look at those images objectively. Scarcely one of the real things in there would have made any sense to anyone in 1982, or even in 1992. People of those times would not have known what they were seeing with those New Aesthetic images. It’s the news, and it’s the truth.

Next, the New Aesthetic is culturally agnostic. Most anybody with a net connection ought to be able to see the New Aesthetic transpiring in real time. It is British in origin (more specifically, it’s part and parcel of a region of London seething with creative atelier “tech houses”). However, it exists wherever there is satellite surveillance, locative mapping, smartphone photos, wifi coverage and Photoshop.

The New Aesthetic is comprehensible. It’s easier to perceive than, for instance, the “surrealism” of a fur-covered teacup. Your Mom could get it. It’s funny. It’s pop. It’s transgressive and ...

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James Bridle's Talk “Waving at the machines” at Web Directions South 2011

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 James Bridle's  keynote from Web Directions South 2011 (Transcript.)  

Beginning with a picture of a cupcake stand that is pixelated rather than printed in gingham or something more obvious, Bridle considers the allure of 8-bit designs, "augmented reality made physical" like Dear Photograph, the architecture of data centers, biometrics, Street View as a historical record, and iPhone photography. Especially thoughtful near the end, considering ways we might coexist with bots in the digital realm. A thorough look at the contemporary "robot-readable" design aesthetic.

Previously: The New Aesthetic

 

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