Talking about The New Aesthetic, what it is, how I believe it derives from the needs of Digital Citizenship and how aspects New Aesthetics can assist students in schools to become better digital citizens. How schools can encourage ideas of the New Aesthetics in the curriculum.Left image of carved wood, right, “glitch art” of existing fashion photograph.About this piece, designer FerruccioLaviani wrote, “Echoes of faraway places and Oriental elements are glimpsed in the “disorienting” design of this storage unit, which seems to have been “deformed” by a strong jolt or by swaying movements. Although it appears to depart from the aesthetics of the past, in fact it draws upon ancient knowledge in the use of carving and fine wood workmanship.”
*Tumblr favours images and snippets of video and text, which is exactly what Bridle posted, a stream of images, screenshots and video, backed up with an occasional quote or sentence of commentary.
*Among the images posted on the first day were: examples of make-up that could be used to defeat face-recognition software; Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan as it appears on Google Maps; fighter jets with a camouflage of blocky patterns suggestive of pixels, anda photo of “felt mouse” – a computer mouse made out of felt.*Here is an example taken from Tumblr, where bloggers use the hash-tag #newaesthetic to signify images, text and video that add to the growing mass of media that contribute to the movement. Although taken of a field, this image resembles the way programs represent a computer’s memory storage.
It is not necessarily an epistamological shift, one that would signal the end of an era and its associated practices and the start of something new.The New Aesthetic is the signification of a definitive change in human understanding of the visual language we encode ourselves with, based on the technology that we use to define the terms of that visuality.*Eg. Jon Rafman’s 9-eyes.com, a project in which he trawls the images taken by the “9-eyes” of the Google Street View camera, picking up unintentional, sentimental and sometimes surreal imagery of our world. Rafman’s intention is to collect images of accidental beauty – the camera is unaware, taking photos simply to describe a geographic region, but we, the subjective viewer can observe “through the computer’s eye” to what it may see.
A celebrated example of New Aesthetic art that satirizes the sociological underpinnings of face detection algorithms is How to Hide from Machines/CV Dazzle, a “form of expressive interference” by Adam Harvey that exploits the tendency of these programs not to see the dark, dim, deformed, and obscure. The chickenvs.egg question that CV Dazzle begs to answer is: Are computers racist or are the humans who advance computer technology racist?
Traditionally, definitions of a digital citizen have referred to one’s use of electronic resources or environments to fulfill his or her duties as a citizen, including filling out online forms, accessing information about one’s government, monitoring governmental activities through this information and providing requested online feed- back.But now something larger isbeing addressed, built, created, and cultivated. It is about a bridge between two worlds—one that is largely public and information-based and another that is intensely personal and structured.Eg. Seychelle Allah’s highly personal workis fantastically alien, even as it appeals to our collective childhood psyches in its references to Disney, anime, and the corporate logos that we’ve been exposed to our entire lives. In an interview he professes “high speed isolation is a recurring theme” in his work. Through his motifs—consumerism, celebrity, pornographicallyrendered bodies, magic, the ostracization of queers and people of color—he cloaks afrofuturism in the New Aesthetic’stechnicolordreamcoat.
These are issues of Digital Citizenship that apply to students in schools – what does it mean to be a person online in the 21st Century ?
As applied to schools, we see digital citizenship as a way for students to understand the world around them, and the New Aesthetic suggests that our world is increasingly bound to the digital world, with an information network that requires us to re-evaluate our role in society. Students, embedded in social networks and the ability to access a vast amount of information, as as emerging digital citizens require the tools and agency to understand and contribute to society.
Questions for schools and the curriculum: what is the world that we have created say about our selves? What is our involvement?
Ideas that can be applied across all year levels, tied into notions of integration of the Australian Curriculum. Eg of a New Aesthetic idea that has implications across the curriculum:The full face mask Pixelhead acts as media camouflage, completely shielding the head to ensure that your face is not recognizable on photographs taken in public places without securing permission. A simple piece of fabric creates a little piece of anonymity for the Internet age. The material used is elastic fabric for beach fashion and sports gear with a fashionable Pixel-style print of German Secretary of the Interior Hans-Peter Friedrich. The mask has holes for your eyes and mouth, so you can see and breathe comfortably while wearing the mask, secure in the knowledge that your image won’t be showing up anywhere you don’t want it to.
Beyond the Screen: The New Aesthetics of Digital Citizenship
Beyond The Screen: The NewAesthetics of Digital Citizenship.FerruccioLaviani,Good Vibrations Storage Unit, Carved wood, 2013.Emma Louise Jones, “Mark Borthwick Photography”series, Digital Image, emma-louise-jones-tailoring.blogspot.com, 2011.
The New AestheticThejaymo,Flying over the Tulips Fields in Anna Paulowna, DigitalPhotograph, http://thejaymo.tumblr.com/, 2013.In 2011, the British writer and technologist James Bridle set up a blogon Tumblr to document a few of the phenomena he had seen.Bridle, an expert on digital publishing called it a “mood board forunknown products”.Example of a visual, digital representation of hard-drive memory.
In 2011, the British writer and technologist James Bridle set up a blogon Tumblr to document a few of the phenomena he had seen.Bridle, an expert on digital publishing called it a “mood board forunknown products”.
John Rafman, “Google Street View Image”, Digital Image, 9-eyes.com, 2012.The New AestheticAt a glance, these appear as a random set of images. However, perhaps the reference to mood-boards is more telling, a highly contemporary technique of concepting integral to creativelabour in advertising and design settings. This is a cultural technology which involves creating anatmosphere or context for consumption around a product.New Aesthetics is pointing towards something new, striving to stare down a thoroughlyhybridized socio-technological world to the difficulties of temporality and a world that hasuntethered itself from such concepts as time, namely through its technology.
Adam Harvey, CV Dazzle, “How To Hide From Machines”, Digital Image,http://dismagazine.com/dystopia/evolved-lifestyles/8115/anti-surveillance-how-to-hide-from-machines/, 2013.The New AestheticThe New Aesthetic is concerned with those moments of slippage between people andcomputers, network and individual, generational and contemporaneous, past and present.
The New Aesthetic and Digital Citizenship“Technology is no longer just a fast way of transporting information from one place toanother and the information it moves is not longer static. Instead, information technologyhas become a participatory medium, giving rise to an environment that is constantly beingchanged and reshaped by the participation itself. The process is almost quantum in nature.The more we interact with these information spaces, the more the environmentchanges, and the very act of finding information reshapes not only the context that gives thatinformation meaning but also the meaning itself” (Thomas & Brown pg. 42, 2011).Seychelle Allah, Illustration 9: Welcome to The Tragic Kingdom 2k12, Digital Image,2012.
It’s the increasing destabilisation of traditional categories that raise the most interestingquestions for the New Aesthetic. Thoughts about why our computers are observing usare troubling. The New Aesthetic allows us to confront the unique social realities of ourdigital evolution: as we teach computers how and when to perceive us, we must engagewith the discomfort of publicly discussing skin tone, race, and the nanny-state; as wecelebrate the wide-scale application of sex with machines, we need to fully internalisethe fluidity of sexuality and gender.By imparting agency on them (digital mediums), we can begin to imagine the inner livesof computers and how they might relate to our condition. As Meg Jayanth (2012)writes “phones know their location, algorithms read the news, the camera-mounted caris an organ of sight for the diffuse Google Street View body.”The New Aesthetic and Digital CitizenshipGolan Levin, Surveillance and “the gaze”, 2009.
“The new culture of learning actually comprises two elements. The first isa massive information network that provides almost unlimited access andresources to learn about anything. The second is a bounded andstructured environment that allows for unlimited agency to build andexperiment with things within those boundaries” (Thomas & Brown pg.11, 2011).The New Aesthetic in SchoolsTriStar Pictures, Terminator 2: Judgment Day, “Terminator T500 vision”, 1991.
"What does a scanner see? he asked himself. I mean, really see? Into the head? Down into theheart? Does a passive infrared scanner like they used to use or a cube-typeholo-scanner likethey use these days, the latest thing, see into me—into us—clearly or darkly?"- Philip K. Dick, A Scanner Darkly.The New Aesthetic in Schools:BeyondThe ScreenMishkaHenners, Dutch Landscapes, series, Digital Image, 2012.
Some examples within the context of the Digital Citizenship:• Social justice/Humanities – How have we imbued digital technology with the means of discerning? Whatbiases exist because of technology?• Art/Design – How is art created by computers? Can computers be “creators of art”? How does new“digital” art challenge ideas of traditional art? How would a cybernetic entity create art?• Science/Technology – What are the achievements of digital technology? Are we improving society – atwhat cost? How do we represent our futuristic visions of society through technology?• English/Literature – Can algorithms replicate the originality and personality of a writer? What elementswould the algorithm writer extract from a piece of work to emphasize this and why?The New Aesthetic in Schools:BeyondThe ScreenMartin Backes,Pixlehead, Elastic fabric, 2012.
Criticisms• Image-creating technological agents are far fromnew, one can argue that the New Aesthetic hasexisted since the 1960s where some artists beganusing algorithms as an aesthetic choice.• “Glitch” artists are less deterministic about theirmethodologies as they generally run a program thatcorrupts their media, allowing for “chance”aesthetics.• “Despite its acknowledgement of computers asweird artifacts that have taken on lives of their own,the New Aesthetic is still primarily interested inhuman experience. That is to say, the aesthetics ofthe New Aesthetic are human aesthetics,appearances and interactions that we people canexperience and that, in so doing, trouble ourunderstanding of what it means to live in thetwenty-first century” (Bogost 2012).• The New Aesthetic is not necessarily a“revolutionary movement”. Kyle Chayka (2012)articulates this point, “*it+ is not yet an actualaesthetic movement. It’s just reality.” The NewAesthetic is not “shocking society” but is a responseto a “shocked society.”Salvador Dali, Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean SeaWhich at Twenty Meters Becomes the Portrait of AbrahamLincoln, Oil and collage on canvas, Dali Museum, 1976.
Questions & Recommended ReadingQuestions.1. Can we look to the Australian Curriculum to provideguides on implementing the ideals of the NewAesthetic to classroom teaching?2. How do we assess students when aspects of DigitalCitizenship regard subjective interpretation andpersonal responses/reflection on the New Aesthetic?3. Can the New Aesthetic be a school wide approach,incorporating the whole school community and schoolphilosophy?Recommended Reading.Brindle, J. (2011, May 6), The New Aesthetic, ReallyInteresting Group.http://www.riglondon.com/blog/2011/05/06/the-new-aesthetic/Cloinger, C. (2012, October 3), Manifesto for a Theory of The‘New Aesthetic’, Mute.http://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/manifesto-theory-%E2%80%98new-aesthetic%E2%80%99Walter, D. G. (2012, April 2), The New Aesthetic and I,Damien G.Walter.http://damiengwalter.com/2012/04/02/the-new-aesthetic-and-i/ Kazuki Takamatsu, Japanese Ideology of Puberty, series, Gauche on wood, 2012.
Bibliography & ReferencesAlma, R. (2012, May 4), Breaking the Fourth Wall: Duende and The New Aesthetic, The Creators Project. Retrieved April 14 2013, fromthecreatorsproject.vice.com/.Ashby, M. (2012, May 4), Surveillance is Symptomatic of Magical Thinking. So Is Anthropomorphism, , The Creators Project. Retrieved April 14 2013, fromthecreatorsproject.vice.com/.Berr, D. M., van Dartel, M., Dieter, M., Kasprzak, M., Muller, N., O’Reilly, R., & de Vicente, J. L. (2012, June), New Aesthetic New Anxieties. Paper written at theBlowup “Book Sprint”, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Retrieved April 14, 2013 from http://v2.nl/publishing/new-aesthetic-new-anxieties.Bogost, I. (2012, April 13), The New Aesthetic Needs to Get Weirder, The Atlantic. Retrieved April 14 2013 from www.theatlantic.com.Bussiere, J., Neuberger, M., Bezanilla, A. M., Waggoner, C., Sender, H., Holt, J., Gardener, M., Wagner, S., Deseriis, M. & Strafer, J. (2012, January), Another Essayon The New Aesthetic. The Digital Legacies of the AvantGarde. Retrieved April 14 2013, from http://www.booki.cc/the-digital-legacies-of-the-avant-garde/.Chayka, K. (2012, April 6), The New Aesthetic: Going Native, The Creators Project. Retrieved April 14 2013, from thecreatorsproject.vice.com/.Cloinger, C. (2012, October 3), Manifesto for a Theory of The ‘New Aesthetic’, Mute. Retrieved April 14 2013,fromhttp://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/manifesto-theory-%E2%80%98new-aesthetic%E2%80%99Gannis, C. (2012, May 4), A Code for the Numbers to Come, The Creators Project. Retrieved April 14 2013, from thecreatorsproject.vice.com/.Jayanth, M. (2012, June 14), Playing like a machine: The New Aesthetic in Gaming, Postdesk.Retrieved April 14 2013, from http://www.postdesk.com/.Kaganskly, J. (2012, May 4), The New Aesthetic Revisited: The Debate Continues!, The Creators Project. Retrieved April 14 2013, fromthecreatorsproject.vice.com/.Lichty, P. (2013, March 1), New Aesthetics: Cyber-Aesthetics and Degrees of Autonomy, Furtherfield. Retrieved April 14 2013, from http://www.furtherfield.org/.Stephens, A. (2012, June 28), Shading the New Aesthetic, Cluster Mag. Retrieved April 14 2013, from http://theclustermag.com/.Stirling, B. (2012, April 2), An Essay on the New Aesthetic, Wired. Retrieved April 14 2013, from http://www.wired.com/.Thomas, D. & Brown, J. S. (2011), A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change, Lexington, Ky.: CreateSpaceIndependent Publishing Platform.Vartanian, H. (2012, May 4), A Not-So-New Aesthetic, or Another Attempt at Technological Triumphalism, , The Creators Project. Retrieved April 14 2013, fromthecreatorsproject.vice.com/.Walter, D. G. (2012, April 2), The New Aesthetic and I, Damien G. Walter. . Retrieved April 14 2013, from http://damiengwalter.com/2012/04/02/the-new-aesthetic-and-i/Wiles, W. (2012, September 17), The Machine Gaze. Aeon Magazine. Retrieved April 14 2013, from http://www.aeonmagazine.com/.Zigelbaum, J. & Coelho, M. (2012, May 4), The Rasterized Snake Eats its Analog Tail, The Creators Project. Retrieved April 14 2013, fromthecreatorsproject.vice.com/.