The Fibreculture Journal, Issue 7


Distributed Aesthetics

Distributed Aesthetics edited by Lisa Gye, Anna Munster and Ingrid Richardson--Abstracts: ...and Beyond: Anticipating Distributed Aesthetics by Darren Tofts; Theses on Distributed Aesthetics. Or, What a Network is Not by Anna Munster & Geert Lovink; Sharing Styles: New Media, Creative Communities and the Evidence of an Open Source Design Movement by Greg Turner-Rahman; Excerpts From "Portrait Of The VJ" by Mark Amerika; Multiple Perspectives/Multiple Readings by Simon Biggs; Beyond the Museum Walls: Situating Art in Virtual Space (Polemic Overlay and Three Movements) by Vince Dzekian; Reshaping Spectatorship: Immersive and Distributed Aesthetics by Edwina Bartlem; Entropy And Digital Installation by Susan Ballard; Intimate Transactions: The Evolution of an Ecosophical Networked Practice by Keith Armstrong.

Finding new terminology for emerging art and cultural practices or for media and technological constellations is bound to be contentious.  On lists, blogs and during face-to-face forums and conferences we continue to debate what the term new media entails, let alone whether this provides an umbrella for wearable computing, smart materials, mobile phone movies or bioart. It is clear that computational culture is drifting, fragmenting and laterally expanding: terminals are no longer dedicated; cultural producers are now recurrent and mobile multi-taskers; art is online, on the street, on a screen and coming at you from a million different places, now.

Rather than try to define the terminology or taxonomy of distributed art theories and practices we have proposed instead a descriptor for the "aesthesia" of contemporary networked encounters.  Distributed aesthetics, then, concerns experiences that are sensed, lived and produced in more than one place and time. This might equally be a sketch of reconsiderations of the operations of cultural memory or of phenomena such as endurance performances. But what we propose, through gathering together the disparate pieces in this fibreculture journal issue, is that techno-social networks are crucially constitutive of this distributed aesthesia.  In various ways, all the texts here take up the mode through which "the network," "the juncture and disjunction of here and there, you and I, social and individuated " functions as the crucial operand in dispersing and contouring perception, art practice and aesthetics.