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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.

Published in researchmaterial


  1. […] The New Aesthetic Warren Ellis knows what I’m talking about. Let’s examine what the future is going to look like and lets assume the answer is SUPER WEIRD. Pixelated representations of reality spilling back out into reality making it actually pixelated. The territory becoming the map. Attempts at visualizing digitized ways of seeing like visualizing motion as a distinct kind of sight rather than just an aspect of it and that’s not even getting into the stuff behind the links here. This is some seriously weird stuff that you will probably not link around to friends but that I highly recommend digging into for a little bit. Warning: may not be as exciting to everyone else as it is to me. Note: Seriously though that pixel camouflaged jet is cool to EVERYBODY though right? […]

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