The New Aesthetic

James Bridle for RIG:

For a while now, I’ve been collecting images and things that seem to approach a new aesthetic of the future, which sounds more portentous than I mean. What I mean is that we’ve got frustrated with the NASA extropianism space-future, the failure of jetpacks, and we need to see the technologies we actually have with a new wonder. Consider this a mood-board for unknown products…

The rough, pixelated, low-resolution edges of the screen are becoming in the world.

Matt Jones for BERG:

I guess – like NASA imagery – it doesn’t acquire that whiff-of-nostalgia-for-a-lost-future if you don’t remember it from the first time round. For a while, anyway.

‘Sensor-Vernacular’ is a current placeholder/bucket I’ve been scrawling for a few things… an aesthetic born of the grain of seeing/computation. Of computer-vision, of 3d-printing; of optimised, algorithmic sensor sweeps and compression artefacts. Of LIDAR and laser-speckle. Of the gaze of another nature on ours. There’s something in the kinect-hacked photography of NYC’s subways that we’ve linked to here before, that smacks of the viewpoint of that other next nature, the robot-readable world.

It’s the lossy-ness that reveals the grain of the material and process. A photocopy of a photocopy of a fax. But atoms. Like the 80?s fanzines, or old Wonder Stuff 7? single cover art. Or Vaughn Oliver, David Carson. It is – perhaps – at once a fascination with the raw possibility of a technology, and – a disinterest, in a way, of anything but the qualities of its output. Perhaps it happens when new technology becomes cheap and mundane enough to experiment with, and break – when it becomes semi-domesticated but still a little significantly-other…

And James’ dedicated tumblr for exploring the idea.  Both posts are worth reading in full: all kinds of really interesting stuff that I just scraped the surface of here.

What I will say is that, although there is no one future to be predicted or inferred — that the idea of the consensus future is resolutely 20th century and should be put to rest — it’s really nice to see people looking for what’s next again.

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