Bruce Sterling interviewed about the New Aesthetic


20 Responses to “Bruce Sterling interviewed about the New Aesthetic”

  1. “On the generational issue, there’s some anxiety among the aging that people under 30 actually think like Tumblrs nowadays — that they’re unmotivated and diffuse, or in the shallows, or mentally crippled by too many pixels — allegations along that line. Obviously they’re a troubled generation, but Tumblrs are not major problems to rank with a major Depression dominated by dogmatic gerontocrats. If we’re going to get generational, then we ought to start the discussion with the amazing mental stasis of Baby Boomers, people who used to be exceedingly reckless and inventive and haven’t had a single new idea since 2008.”

    That’s a fair enough point, but I suppose you could say in response that when the Boomers were inventive and reckless, they produced the Electric Acid Kool-Aid Tests, the Velvet Underground and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the Moon landing and 2001: A Space Odyssey, John Lennon saying the Beatles were bigger than Jesus, Muhammad Ali saying no Viet Cong ever called me n****r, Malcolm X, Jimi Hendrix, Timothy Leary and Steve Jobs, LSD and PC, and so on, and so on.  The eventual mental stasis of old people is hardly amazing.

    And the tumblrs have produced…tumblrs, FUCK YEAH!  It’s alright talking about mental stasis, but how about articulating some aspect of New Aesthetic theory that isn’t heated up left-overs from 90s post-modernism, never mind 2008.

    • marukosu says:

      “how about articulating some aspect of New Aesthetic theory that isn’t heated up left-overs from 90s post-modernism”

      Yes, thank you! I keep trying to read this NA crap and thinking, wait, what the f*ck was that sentence I just read saying again? Maybe the next one will clarify things… oops, no, now we’ve gone from something something pixelated aesthetics to something something drone attacks in Afghanistan. And oh look, balloons!

      I guess every generation needs to go through its ranty-babble intellectual stage. Someone wake me up if this ever gels into something that is vaguely interesting without a joint.

    • noah django says:

      Can we agree that the baby boom began after the war ended?  OK, Kesey was not a boomer (born 1935,) but I suppose the acid tests were dependent on a bunch of young Boomers.  Lou Reed and John Cale weren’t boomers, but closer (’42.)  However, Warhol was not a boomer (’28.)  Boomers watched the moon landing on TV, but they ˆobviouslyˆweren’t old enough to be involved in the project.  Same deal with Kubrick’s 2001.  Boomers may have flocked to the theatres, but Kubrick was born in ’28.  Lennon was born in ’40.  Malcolm X?  Really?  He was old enough for the effing draft, as detailed in his autobiography.  Hendrix and Ali were close, but still not quite (’42.)  Leary was quite obviously old for a hippie, indeed he’s the oldest listed (’20.)  Jobs is the ONLY Boomer on your whole list.

      The eventual mental stasis of the aging IS hardly amazing, but specious claims to greatness by the entire me-generation is pretty audacious; yet so par-for-the-course that few people question it.  They worshiped their big brothers and claimed them as their own, but the generation itself mostly enrolled in college, were given high-paying jobs, did a bunch of blow, then voted Republican when they settled in.  I had a link that went into greater detail, but a bunch of boomers flagged it, apparently.

      I’m already on record as unimpressed by whatever-the-hell the New Aesthetic is.  Pretty sure it belongs to the generation after me.  But if it blows up, I won’t claim I’m one of them.

  2. Mitchell Glaser says:

    The new anesthetic puts me to sleep.

  3. Jake0748 says:

    I have no idea what this is even about.  Somebody clue me in?

    • zarray says:

      Seriously I’m studying different art fields and as far as I can tell its a overtly formal way of saying ‘the hipster look’

    • It’s about bugger all, but for some reason (that I used to hope was irony) people keep posting about it.

      Writers gotta write.

    • Beanolini says:

      I have no idea what this is even about

      Didn’t you read the article?

      The New Aesthetic is a deliberate attempt to break this steampunk stasis of atemporality, to get things rolling again by emphasizing the genuinely novel aspects of our contemporary experience

      I trust that makes it clear.

      As for

      instead of merely saying, I’m an artist, but I do digital electronics, you can re-frame your efforts as something like “a new aesthetic of processual vital beauty,”

      every practising artist I have met would much prefer to say the former than the latter.

      I have a sneaking suspicion that this interview itself is a processual exercise. But I did think it was legally mandated that any mention of aesthetics necessitated an acoompanying reference to Adorno.

  4. Are we still on this thing? Aren’t we pomped out yet?

  5. lumpygravy2 says:

    The completely unmitigated BS of art posers.  Nothing to see here folks, move on.

  6. grandmapucker says:

    Pffth. I only like the Old Aesthetic, but only the cassingle only releases.

  7. Powell says:

    What a bunch of jibber-jabber!  

  8. doggo says:

    Artspeak always sounds like a bunch of twenty-dollar words used to obscure the artist’s inability to articulate what he or she is doing. 

    It’s like over-thinking when throwing a rock at a street sign. Don’t think about it, just do it, and you hit the target. 

    Start thinking about the outfit you should wear while throwing rocks at street signs, or how your body moves while throwing the rock, or what rock should be thrown at which street sign,  and you’re gonna get a lot of misses.

    • Mark Dow says:

      But hit or miss, throw rocks. I see Cox and Sterling throwing rocks, but most commenters here are just razzing them for missing without looking for a rock to throw.

  9. inkfumes says:

    What is that photo supposed to be? It looks like a hotel lobby, with a bar table and stool, with what appears to be a partial miniature sci-fi city scape sitting on a wierd key-tar looking thing, with balloons attached to it? I mean what IS THAT THING?

    • omems says:

      Or “Art” if you feel the need to be redundant.

    • Dignan says:

      I thought it looked like a Klingon Bird of Prey made out of Lego’s with balloons attached to it. So there’s your ‘new aesthetic’. 

    • millie fink says:

      I think it’s the art piece that consists of a drone with attached balloons, as mentioned in the interview. An explanatory caption here would be helpful.

  10. christian .ryan says:

    the thing is, this _isn’t_ artspeak.  it’s not artists talking about aesthetics, it’s Bruce Sterling interloping (as he’s wont to do) in areas he feels like pontificating about. 
    it really is microwave leftovers warmed over 90′s fascination w/ technological novelty – so in that case, the only answer anyone needs to give when responding to someone about the New Aesthetic is: “The Lawnmower Man.”

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