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New Aesthetic Time Capsule

As part of Kenneth Goldsmith’s project

I decided to put together a packet on last year’s discussion around “the new aesthetic”. I also included the great article The IRL Fetish from The New Inquiry. I will be sending this package to the show tomorrow. Some observations before I close up shop on my little section of this project.

 Why print out the internet?  I’ve been reading a number of complaints about what a waste the project is and how it is unethical in terms of its environmental impact. I think a great deal of art may be viewed as a waste…. that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done. Compare this waste to the waste of a print run of a weekly national or international magazine. Compare it to the waste to run servers and make the hardware we use to access the web. I think it is dangerously naive for people who operate through online networks to believe that their hands are free or clean.

 And why this thin slice of it? I along with a number of friends online put a lot of energy into exploring or attempting to dismiss “the new aesthetic.” Even James Bridle expressed many reservations about the title and parameters of his project even as he enthusiastically piled forward. I think many of his critics and further explicators took his ideas elsewhere, and that has both benefits and disadvantages. I don’t claim to speak for James. For all I know he may be contributing to this project already. I do think his points of interest map on to many of my own central obsessions. Most of what I am studying in art and culture is what Marshall McLuhan pointed to when he said “As we build our tools our tools build us.” It is the phenomena of cybernetic feedback loops that both get closer and more intimate to us and further and more far reaching. In both cases it becomes difficult for people to see and study these loops if they are not paying attention. 

I also made parameters for my project before I decided to  start printing. I wanted to choose a subject that interpenetrated with the impossible act of printing the internet in a way that reflected the kinds of loops I enjoy observing. I wanted it to be a learning experience for myself and something that I would read in total. I also decided that the cover sheet for my submission should take the form you are reading here.

As I looked through the pages I saw a real dearth of women writing on the subject. Why? Was it based on my own reading habits? A lack of interest from women? A boys club mentality that is associated with the initial response? Joanne McNeil did speak in an event called Stories from The New Aesthetic. Who else have I missed?

The issues charted by “the new aesthetic” have not gotten any less strange or in my opinion any less pressing. Perhaps it will take more time to frame these loosely related aspects of our contemporary culture.  This list of links is not totally comprehensive. However they might take a good days worth of reading and cross referencing. I decided to start with six Bridle entries that were written after the public discussion had died down a bit. They are in my opinion the most cogent arguments Bridle made on the subject outside of his talk “Waving at the Machines.” Some of the pages from some of the links glitched when I printed them and I may post images from those pages later.

This time capsule is meant to disintegrate. It is meant to be recycled and become something else. "The New Aesthetic" is dead. Long live "the New Aesthetic." Have fun while it lasts.

- Justin Lincoln

Walla Walla , WA. (The future is already here, it just isn’t evenly distributed.” - William Gibson)


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