The New Aesthetic and The Framework of Culture

FALL 2012: V.08 N.02: FOUND – SAMPLED – STOLEN – STRATEGIES OF APPROPRIATION IN NEW MEDIA

 
Eduardo Navas, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor, School of Visual Arts, Pennsylvania State University.
Lecturer, Eugene Lang College and The New School for Public Engagement, New York.

This essay is a critical overview of the New Aesthetic in the context of what I define as The Framework of Culture. The New Aesthetic relies heavily on principles of remixing, and for this reason it is not so much a movement, but arguably more of an attitude towards media production that is overtly aware of computing processes that are embedded in every aspect of daily life. Material considered part of The New Aesthetic often, though not always, consists of pixilated designs that make reference to digital manipulation of contemporary media.

One of the The New Aesthetic’s resonating issues is that by using the word “new” it appears invested in the recontextualization of cultural production that is aware of its materialization through the use of digital technology. At the same time, it also appears to be revisiting much of what new media already examined during the early stages of networked communication beginning in the mid-nineties. [1] The subject of interest in this text is not whether The New Aesthetic may be something actually “new,” or simply a trend revisiting cultural variables already well defined by previous stages of media production. Rather, what is relevant is that The New Aesthetic makes evident how recycling of concepts and materials is at play in ways that differ from previous forms of production.

In what follows I demonstrate how The New Aesthetic makes the most of two layers specific to The Framework of Culture. I do this in order to argue that The New Aesthetic is a symptom of a state of production that late-media culture has entered, in which producers overtly demonstrate a keen awareness of the potential of recyclability (remixing) with the implementation of digital tools. It is the ideology that supports The New Aesthetic, then, that is critiqued in this essay.

DANCING AROUND WHAT THE NEW AESTHETIC MAY BE

A question that seems to recur online since the concept of The New Aesthetic was introduced is what it is, or could be. No one claims to fully know.  But everyone who has written about it is able to point out specific examples of what The New Aesthetic is. James Bridle, who coined the concept, claims to have chosen the term not thinking too much about it, and then adding that it was not a very good name, [2] but that, nevertheless, serves its purpose. What its purpose may be (or really, what it means culturally) is where the apparent complexity lies. For Bridle it seems to be a way of claiming something specific to the time of production of his generation. He elaborates:

“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 [have become] 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.” [3]

The above quote comes from Bridle’s first post in which he actually uses the term “new aesthetic” but which clearly was not a concrete definition at the time. His brief statement is followed by a series of images showing a clear reference to the “digital,” sometimes in terms of some type of pixel presentation, or overt process that could only be performed with a computer. Some of the images included on the post are an aerial shot of a landscape from space, which shows buildings that appear to be green-pixels; an iPhone geo-locator map-visualization; a diptych of large pixels, presented as the portrait of two individuals; and four photo-shots of a woman wearing anti-face recognition make up, among others. [4] These graphics are meant to represent an aesthetic defined by or influenced by computer technology’s increasing role in daily life. But this is not mentioned.  One is supposed to infer such meaning, apparently, when making a connection between the written statement and the images.

Geolocator (No actual title), 2011, Ben Terrett, visualization, archived on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/benterrett/5638854608/in/photostream (accessed October 12, 2012).

Geolocator (No actual title), 2011, Ben Terrett, visualization, archived on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/benterrett/5638854608/in/photostream (accessed October 12, 2012).

The New Aesthetic was more concretely introduced as a concept by Bridle through a series of presentations, some of which are available online in video format. He consistently lectured on what he saw trending in the world with a definite “digital” influence, while writing about it on his blog named, appropriately, “The New Aesthetic.” [5] Bridle closed the blog after about a year of activity with no explanation other than “The project will continue in other forms and venues.” [6] At the time of this writing, it is uncertain why this took place. [7] However, as I finished this essay The New Aesthetic blog was reactivated. [8]

Weeks before Bridle closed his blog, Bruce Sterling wrote an essay on Wired in early April, after he attended a panel on The New Aesthetic, which Bridle moderated at SXSW in Austin, Texas, in March of 2012. [9] In his essay Sterling gives his unselfish and eager support for The New Aesthetic, but with a careful amount of healthy criticism, which in the end is his way of telling those involved that they need to get serious if they are going to do something more than create just another trend that is shallow and, at best, friendly to superficial design: “The New Aesthetic is a genuine aesthetic movement with a weak aesthetic metaphysics. It’s sticky with bogus lyricism.” [10]

WHAT THE NEW AESTHETIC IS

Not one concrete example of The New Aesthetic is actually found in Sterling’s essay, yet, one gets a sense of what The New Aesthetic may be because he alludes to it by way of terms such as “theory object,” and “shareable concept.” [11] Sterling’s essay was soon noticed by The Creators Project, whose editors invited five individuals keen on emerging trends, to respond to Sterling’s views. [12] All respondents in their own way admitted that they did not really know what The New Aesthetic was, or could be. For them The New Aesthetic was evidently quite familiar, dealing with the look and process of the digital or computing, but it could not be explained coherently at the time that they wrote their responses.

Artists and theorists also wrote soon after, or around the time Sterling released his essay.

Patrick Lichty, for example, contextualized The New Aesthetic in terms of the history of new media art. [13] He evaluates The New Aesthetic in relation to previous art activities such as “dirtstyle,” which consists of artworks that reference or make literal use of low-fi, or 8-bit technology. Lichty also connects it to early new media practice, in this way making clear that The New Aesthetic has a strong historical precedent. [14]

Dyptich 1, 2011, James Bridle, archived on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/stml/5490384090/ (accessed October 12, 2012).

Dyptich 1, 2011, James Bridle, archived on Flickr, http://www.flickr.com/photos/stml/5490384090/ (accessed October 12, 2012).

The strategy at play in the objects claimed by The New Aesthetic clearly is dependent on principles of recombining elements (remixing). But not in the usual way of literally taking something and recombining it with something else, or deleting, or adding elements according to one’s vision. What The New Aesthetic does is more conceptual. It functions on a linguistic layer that points primarily to something that we may take as a conventional form in terms of meta.

A CONCRETE LOOK AT THE NEW AESTHETIC

At this point I will evaluate a particular image composed of four separate photographs that has been used in various posts. It is only appropriate to look at a selection from the post in which Bridle summarized the panel discussion that took place at SXSW. [15] The image has no title, subtitle, nor informative caption. It is the second from the top.  It consists of four separate images juxtaposed in grid fashion. The first on the top-left is an umbrella displaying a colorful design of what appears to be bright colored pixels; the second on the top-right is a street sculpture that appears to be an over-size exposed pipe, releasing cube-like or pixel-like objects, resembling water, on the street-walk-way.  This sculpture is actually titled “Pixel Pour.” [16] The third on the bottom-left is a jet-fighter displaying a pixel-like camouflage of grays, whites and some bright yellow colors. The fourth image on the bottom-right is another plane flying, shot from the top.  The image shows a transposition of red, green, and blue alluding to the processing of the image with a computer.

All of these images appear to be quite familiar at first glance: there is something in them that we already know, and understand.  If one were to view them outside of the context of The New Aesthetic one would think that they are simply typical images displaying the type of contemporary production dependent on computer processing. During the early stages of new media, the very same images would have been understood differently.  The sense of the digital would have been evident, but more with an inclination to define it as a new cultural paradigm. The reading of the images as examples of The New Aesthetic is more of a deliberate recontextualization (remixing by way of citation), which makes evident that we have entered a time when the reading of an image is fully dependent on its caption. [17]

The recognition and our quick assimilation of the images described as some type of commentary, or at least an overt reference to something that clearly preceded the images is possible because of two layers of culture which have always been part of modern production, but not until recently have come to be optimized on a feedback loop. The loop functions in real time due to the possibility of swift exchange of information with networked technology. The efficiency of this loop has made us aware that we recycle and recombine, remix (sometimes in conceptual and others in material ways) just about everything that is culturally shared. This is possible because of The Framework of Culture that we must now turn to in order to understand what takes place when we view these images with the concept of The New Aesthetic in mind, and to ask the question, why is it that people invested in visual culture have reacted so strongly to this concept?

THE FRAMEWORK OF CULTURE

The Framework of Culture consists of two layers of activity. The first occurs when something that is innovative or considered new is introduced. The second takes place when the element introduced is well assimilated, attains cultural value, and is re-evaluated via social commentary, appropriation or sampling. Some examples from the past include the photo camera, the phonograph, and more recently, the computer. All of these examples were not “original” but rather different because of the combination of various ideas to create a specific technology that when first introduced people had to negotiate into their lives. [18]

The computer is worth emphasizing in our case, given that we are dealing with an aesthetic that is clearly defined by the multi-faceted production such a device made possible.  Looking back in history, Charles Babbage in 1833 developed the concept of The Analytical Engine, a machine designed for repetitive number crunching. However, he was never able to raise the funds, nor the interest to support the development of a working model. The reason for this has to do with purpose. [19] People did not understand what to do with a device that appeared superfluous and experimental. Babbage tried to introduce the computer on the first layer of The Framework of Culture, but the computer would not become a reality until WWII, when ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was developed by Prespert Eckert and John Mauchley. The project was commissioned by Captain Herman Goldstine with the purpose to create firing tables for missiles during WWII. ENIAC was, in the end, not used during the war because the computer only became functional after it ended; but the over-sized machine was used by the military for other purposes. [20] However, the idea of using the computer for number crunching as initially envisioned by Babbage was at this point something understandable in culture, at least for the military and major research centers. The computer then began to be used to make all types of activities more efficient.

The computer was at an early stage of assimilation in this case, at play on the first layer of The Framework of Culture. It entered the second layer after its introduction in the home as a type of furniture. This took place in the 1980s, when Apple and IBM developed their own version of the personal computer. At this stage the computer acquired cultural value, and developed enough popular meaning to be used massively; people could begin using it not as a technical device, but more like a conventional tool that allowed them to work and create in ways previously not possible. Admittedly, this was not as easy as today. Many early adopters had to master the command line, which is not very intuitive. Artists were quite active in exploring creative possibilities with the computer almost from the beginning, but a sense of critical commentary did not really become well cemented until around the middle of the 1980s, when enough cultural assimilation had taken place, and people would understand the commentary created by artists and cultural critics around computer technology. [21]

Soon after this, we entered a stage of reflexivity in the nineties when new media encapsulated the shift in cultural production that computers made possible. Note that this state of reflexivity already alluded to some of the elements that The New Aesthetic is claiming. But, as previously mentioned during the first two decades of the twenty-first century, new media could not achieve what The New Aesthetic aspires to, simply because not enough cultural discourse had developed around computing – if anything, new media would become The New Aesthetic’s state of reflection. So, in terms of the two layers that inform The Framework of Culture, new media functions as the first layer, and The New Aesthetic as the second, on which what has already been introduced under the paradigm of new media is recycled by The New Aesthetic to point to the past as a means to understanding our possible future.

The New Aesthetic then encapsulates the two layers that form The Framework of Culture in a tightly efficient feedback loop, [22] and makes the most of a fourth specialized area of the global industry consisting of pure information production. The previous areas of agriculture, industrial production, and the service industry support this area. [23] The fourth specialized area, which increasingly depends on meta-production, pronounces itself as the ultimate form for the growth of emerging markets, which do not have to take on material form, but simply shift their ephemeral formation through networked media.  This is made evident by the images that Bridle and others contextualize as The New Aesthetic.

THE NEW AESTHETIC’S DEPENDENCE ON THE FRAMEWORK OF CULTURE

There is a specific element that takes effect in terms of cultural production when new forms and technologies such as photography and computing are introduced for the first time. In culture, signification is challenged not in terms of the second layer of the framework, but the first, when the ability of people to assimilate things based on what they already know is disrupted with an object that has no apparent relation to their immediate reality. In turn, they are unable to come to terms with how to use such an “original” gadget. This is the reason why Babbage could not have his Difference Engine properly funded; his invention challenged The Framework of Culture. His challenge, once it was expressed, entered the first layer as an idea or concept, and once it circulated enough, at an experimental stage – with potential for future development, others were likely to adopt it and eventually the object (in this case the computer) became something feasible for a specific use, thus becoming fully assimilated into the first layer of The Framework of Culture. This process of disruption on the first layer is often called ‘innovation.’ But by no means does it imply that the “innovators” are doing something without precedent. They have borrowed from history by doing a lot of research on what worked for others to develop an object that is drastically different, thus pushing people to reevaluate their reality. This is the pivotal sphere of research and development in the hard sciences.

The New Aesthetic is dependent on this relation. However, what makes it different from previous paradigm shifts is that it is fully invested in the meta: it is not trying to present something “innovative.” The paradigm shift here takes place in acknowledging the recycling of material in terms of digital aesthetics – in simply recontextualizing something that has a specific function with an emphasis on its processing, or influence by way of computer technology. The images archived by Bridle in his blog, such as the ones so far described, are quintessentially postmodern. They do not have a unified message, except that computers in some way influence them. They do not have to “speak” to us of some truth. The pixilated umbrella does not even qualify as kitsch, that argument has been exhausted; “Pixel Pour” appears more like a gimmick, it’s cute at best – void of any potential criticism; the airplanes have the best chance at pointing to some type of critique, but one wonders if this is even worth doing, especially when they are juxtaposed with the two other images, which appear to stop them from such potential. While we can take these images as separate elements to validate their specific politics, the fact that they are bunched together is what explains the actual dynamic of The New Aesthetic, which, as Sterling states, lacks critical rigor. The New Aesthetic is empty and has no possibility to become something more serious unless it develops a more in-depth vision of its possible production.

The meta, then, is super-real. It is the first order of meaning, inverted to appear as a given to upcoming generations. Unlike physical things, the super-real is everywhere the network flows. We can carry our images on our phones, send them to our cloud, and share them with our friends. We are in contact with others by constantly texting, and tweeting. The current signification of the real is primarily informational, and what the machine produces becomes the first order because this is the immediate form of interaction encountered by generations born into a world where computing is ubiquitous. Bridle’s generation is certainly part of this reality. Perhaps this is why he appears to be uncritical, because this is the only environment he knows. His obsession with the machine having a gaze makes more sense from this standpoint.

THE NEW AESTHETIC AND THE POSTHUMAN

The other element that makes The New Aesthetic different from new media is that it comes at a time when our preoccupation as human subjects has been shifted onto nonhuman things. In this respect Bridle discusses how the machines may be looking at us, at how their gaze has taken on a sense of being alive in some way. This aspect of The New Aesthetic has been criticized repeatedly by Bruce Sterling, both in his first essay as well as in an interview conducted by David Cox. Sterling does believe that such interest should be dropped from The New Aesthetic. He writes: “Let’s critically nitpick a little, shall we? Dazzle camouflage has nothing to do with ‘machine vision.’ Machines are incapable of a state of mind like ‘dazzle.’ Camou is all about human vision.” [24] Nevertheless, Sterling also states that artists are often mystics and that they have produced good work under “colossal mysticism.” [25]

Look #1, Adam Harvey, http://cvdazzle.com/assets/images/comparison_lg.jpg (accessed October 12, 2012).

Look #1, Adam Harvey, http://cvdazzle.com/assets/images/comparison_lg.jpg (accessed October 12, 2012).

Game designer and philosopher Ian Bogost discussed The New Aesthetic in terms of Alien Phenomenology and object-oriented ontology (OOO). [26] Bogost challenged Bridle to consider his own Alien Phenomenology and to move beyond seeing the world based on human relations with computers, and to apply some type of egalitarian philosophy to all things, from toasters to tables as one would to any living thing (it appears that Bridle is only interested in computer-influenced objects). Bogost is ultimately interested in discussing his own arguments on Object Oriented Ontology (OOO). [27]

We must consider the actual claims of OOO as a philosophy and how it relates to The New Aesthetic. David Berry does a good job at explaining the short-sightedness of OOO when listing material products such as tables, toasters, phones, etc. as elements that can experience the world in similar fashion to humans:

“[…]we are told that it is ‘ultimately impossible for one thing to understand the experience of another’ but we can ‘speculate’ about it. Here is the crucial point of weakness in this position. We are no longer involved in realism, but have moved to speculative philosophy, one that has moved towards a kind of idealism that doesn’t recognize itself as such. I think that this is partially due to the soporific quality of litanies that the OOO are so keen to list at every opportunity, as if the mere act of listing has reaffirmed their realism.” [28]

Whether we accept OOO as a groundbreaking way of viewing the world, or dismiss it as sci-fi obsessed language, what is important in this case is that the discussion of machines and other things in the world having some type of agency is becoming more common under the general term of posthumanism. Ultimately posthumanism may yet be another way to revisit recurring philosophical questions which, by now, we know have no simple answer. This is the Nietzschean paradigm that begins with self-awareness:

“Consider the herds that are feeding yonder: they know not the meaning of yesterday or today; they graze and ruminate, move or rest, from morning to night, from day to day, taken up with their little loves and hates and the mercy of the moment, feeling neither melancholy nor satiety. Man cannot see them without regret, for even in the pride of his humanity he looks enviously on the beast’s happiness. He wishes simply to live without piety or pain, like a beast; yet it is all in vain, for he will not change places with it.” [29]

Such preoccupation is passed on to all forms we create. We produce and experience with a constant preoccupation of being. This sentiment is the primary recursion which when absorbed in modernism as a means for mass production led to developing contentions among individuals and the world created in relation to the destabilizing idea of nature and human relations to material goods as commodity fetishes.

THE NEW AESTHETIC IS THE NEW REGRESSION

In the past, the term “new” has been used to introduce innovative activities or moments.  Besides The New Aesthetic, another example, which precedes it and has been mentioned already is “new media.” The term “new” in each case performs differently. This is possible because of specific regressive connotations defined by the times in which they were first introduced.

One of the reasons that the new is difficult to evaluate in cultural terms every time it is reused is because we already see the very negation of the term, meaning, that we wonder how long it will be “new” because it will soon become the norm, and another “new” will come forth. Why does this sense arise? On how the new functions in terms of negation Adorno writes: “The old has refuge only at the vanguard of the new: in the gaps not in continuity.” [30] A key issue that adds to the complexity of understanding the term new, in this case, is that Adorno argues that the old in art is not dependent on its continuity, but in taking a place in the gaps of the continuity that leads to the new. This enables the old to be inherent in what is presented as the new. But before elaborating further, I must cite at length Adorno’s observation on the paradox of the new in art itself:

“Even the camp followers of the new, whom everyone disdains, are more forceful than those who boldly insist on the tried and true. If in accord with its model, the fetish character of the commodity, the new becomes a fetish, this is to be criticized in the work itself, not externally simply because it became a fetish; usually the problem is a discrepancy between new means and old ends. If a possibility for innovation is exhausted, if innovation is mechanically pursued in a direction that has already been tried, the direction of innovation must be changed and sought in another dimension. The abstractly new can stagnate and fall back into the ever-same. Fetishization expresses the paradox of all art that is no longer self-evident to itself: the paradox that something made exists for its own sake; precisely this paradox is the vital nerve of new art.” [31]

Note that Adorno uses the term “new art” to refer to a process of fetishization that is ultimately legitimated through self-referentiality. This is what art turns to once it becomes a movement: Dada, Futurism, neo-dada, pop art, conceptual art, new media art, and most recently diverse work under the term relational aesthetics, are all terms used to contextualize works of art with specific names that enable them to become fetishized and part of a market that is also legitimated by art historians, curators, and critics.

To this effect, the term “new art” is no different than “new aesthetic.” When a social activity is framed with a specific term what takes place is a delineation of a cultural territory. In the case of The New Aesthetic the “new” is implemented to understand what is already produced, which, as it becomes evident throughout this analysis, has been around for some time. To make a statement of what we already sense, to name it helps us understand why it appears to be innovative. But this, in the end, is a process of domestication. This process inevitably leads to the new becoming fully assimilated and institutionalized and thereby swiftly conventionalized as not necessarily old but certainly known. It becomes comfortable once it is named.

The New Aesthetic is not even about remixing in the usual sense of sampling from, or of making direct or even indirect reference to previously produced material. Instead it is about recontextualizing images that are produced with the use of computers with direct self-reference to their definition based on the aesthetics of computing. The New Aesthetic, as currently being shaped by those invested in it, is fully parasitical. It is about archiving material that is produced for different contexts and imposing on them the term “New Aesthetic.” There is no longer any need for production given that the actual objects that would be produced based on this concept, unless those who will produce them become critically engaged, will function on a ruptured meta-paradigm, which shows that the mapping of information is most important, not information itself. The content no longer matters, only its presentation in a way that appears digestible. This is a new form of remixing that is primarily about citing, not really caring what the citation means. Material sampling (taking actual parts of an object to combine it with other elements) becomes incidental and accepted, but it is no longer needed. There is plenty in the archive to revisit.

CONCLUSION: THE NEW AESTHETIC AND THE NORM

At this time, I would like to go back to another part of the second quote of Adorno above, in which he explains that when the possibility of innovation is no longer living up to its potential, one should be willing to move in a different direction in order to develop relevant possibilities.

As I write this last paragraph, a month long conversation is taking place on “Empyre,” an e-mail list dedicated to discussing issues relevant to media and emerging technologies. [32] The discussion is led by Patrick Lichty, and includes David Berry and other writers who have written much about The New Aesthetic. The online discussion may be the beginning of a promising future, where we may be entering a truly different form of interdisciplinary cultural production. Nevertheless, one must be cautious of such possibilities given that researchers and scholars more often than not fall prey to academic exegesis. For this reason, I must end by admitting that at the moment the New Aesthetic remains absorbed by the well-established art, media, and design cultures. Individuals like Berry want to appropriate the term; they want to rescue it for its potential as the new paradigm shift. One can only hope this will eventually be possible. But for now, I must state that it is too soon to tell if those invested in The New Aesthetic will make the change as Adorno suggests. As much as one would like it to be otherwise, The New Aesthetic is simply the best example of what The Framework of Culture offers us in the name of globalized efficiency: the norm no longer as the new, but openly as what we already know and like to recycle. The ideology of repetition has never been more blatantly honest with cultural producers. Perhaps we should be thankful for such transparency. Acknowledging it and fully appropriating it critically may eventually enable us to move past what we already know.


REFERENCES

1. A discussion on The New Aesthetic took place during the month of April 2012 on The New Media Curating List, see the archive for April on https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/cgi-bin/webadmin?A0=new-media-curating(accessed August 28, 2012).
2. James Bridle, “#sxaesthetic,” March 15, 2012, http://booktwo.org/notebook/sxaesthetic/ (accessed August 30, 2012).
3. James Bridle, “The New Aesthetic,” May 6, 2011, http://www.riglondon.com/blog/2011/05/06/the-new-aesthetic/ (accessed August 28, 2012).
4. Ibid.
5. http://new-aesthetic.tumblr.com/ (accessed August 15, 2012).
6. Ibid.
7.David Berry, “Taking Care of the New Aesthetic,” June 6, 2012, http://stunlaw.blogspot.com/2012/05/taking-care-of-new-aesthetic.html (accessed August 26, 2012).
8.The first post after its closing was on August 21, 2012. A clear shift on how the process of the computer affects the end result is emphasized, as opposed to an illustrative process of computing, http://new-aesthetic.tumblr.com/day/2012/08/20/ (accessed August 28, 2012).
9.Bruce Sterling, “An Essay on the New Aesthetic,”  April 2, 2012, http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2012/04/an-essay-on-the-new-aesthetic (accessed May 10, and July 12, 2012).
10. Ibid.
11. Ibid.
12. Julia Kaganskiy, “In Response To Bruce Sterling’s “Essay On The New Aesthetic,” April 6, 2012,http://www.thecreatorsproject.com/blog/in-response-to-bruce-sterlings-essay-on-the-new-aesthetic (accessed  August 28, 2012).
13. Patrick Lichty, “The New Aesthetics: Problems and Polemics (Part 1),” May 7, 2012 http:// www.realityaugmentedblog.com/2012/05/the-new-aesthetics-problems-and-polemics-part-1/ (accessed August 22, 2012).
14. Patrick Lichty, “The New Aesthetic: Further Thoughts,” June 29, 2012,http://www.realityaugmentedblog.com/2012/06/the-new-aesthetic-further-thoughts/ (accessed August 29, 2012).
15. Ibid.
16. Apparently the first version was created in 2008, and the second in 2011. The artist appears to be Kneeon. See http://ghostynet.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/pixel-water-flows-from-exposed-pipes-in-nyc/, accessed August 28, 2012, also see http://work.kneeon.tv/PIXEL-POUR (accessed September 27, 2012).
17. Walter Benjamin actually understood this in terms of mechanical reproduction during the first half of the twentieth century. According to him, a mechanically reproduced image is easily recontextualized. This possibility is a two-edged sword that mechanical reproduction gives us. In order to control the meaning of the image once such possibility becomes the norm, captions are essential. See, Walter Benjamin, “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” Illuminations, trans. Harry Zhon(New York: Schocken, 1968), 217-251.
18. This idea is summarized by Kirby Ferguson in his short film series, “Everything is a Remix,”http://www.everythingisaremix.info/watch-the-series/ (accessed August 20, 2012).
19. Scott McCartney, ENIAC (New York: Walter and Company, 1999), 18.
20. Ibid, 52 –87.
21. For a good account of artists during the introduction of the computer during the 1960s and ‘70s, see Charlie Gere, Digital Culture (London: Reaktion, 2002), 75 – 111.
22. The efficiency of this loop is too complex to explain it here. Please see Eduardo Navas “Remix[ing] Sampling,” Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling (New York and Wien: Springer, 2012), 17 – 26.
23. I previously mention this in “The Ethics of Modular Complexity in Sustainability,” CSPA Quarterly. Los Angeles, CA., Summer, Q 3 2010: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/Issue/99698, available on Remix Theory:http://remixtheory.net/?p=461 (accessed September 28, 2012). This argument is based on a previous observation by Jose Luis Brea. See: Jose Luis Brea, “El trabajo inmaterial,” Cultura Ram (Barcelona: Gedisa editorial, 2007), 40.
24. Sterling.
25. David Cox “Playfullness and Processuality – Interview with Bruce Sterling about the New Aesthetic,” June 20, 2012, http://davidalbertcox.com/blog/?p=29, accessed August 22, 2012.
26. Ian Bogost, “The New Aesthetic Needs To Get Weirder,” The Atlantic, April 13, 2012,http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/04/the-new-aesthetic-needs-to-get-weirder/255838/(accessed September 3, 2012).
27. Ibid.
28. http://stunlaw.blogspot.com/2012/04/what-is-new-aesthetic.html (accessed August 28, 2012).
29. Fredrich Nietzsche, The Use and Abuse of History, trans. Adrian Collins (New York: Macmillan Publishing, 1957), 5.
30. Theodor Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. Robert Hullor-Kentor (Minessota Press, 1997), p. 22.
31. Ibid.
32. Empyre List, September discussion, http://lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au/pipermail/empyre/2012-September/thread.html (accessed September 15, 2012).


Bio

Eduardo Navas researches the crossover of art and media in culture. His production includes art & media projects, critical texts, and curatorial projects. He has presented and lectured about his work internationally. Navas researches and teaches principles of cultural analytics and digital humanities in the School of Visual Arts at The Pennsylvania State University. He also lectures in the program of Culture and Media at Eugene Lang College, and MA Media Studies at The New School for Public Engagement, in New York. Navas is a 2010-12 Post Doctoral Fellow in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway, and received a Ph.D. from the Department of Art and Media History, Theory, and Criticism at the University of California in San Diego. He is the author of Remix Theory: The Aesthetics of Sampling (New York and Wien: Springer, 2012)

http://remixtheory.net

http://navasse.net/