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More On the “New Aesthetic” - It’s Not Quite So New

posted Jan 30, 2013, 8:47 PM by Ellen Pearlman

More On the “New Aesthetic” - It’s Not Quite So New

Mark Hansen, a critical theorist at Duke University states:

“the computational revolution is altering the infrastructure of our lifeworld profoundly and thereby changing what it means to be human and also what is involved in practicing the humanities today. I believe that the humanities must embrace technology and that humanists must enter full-scale into the informatics revolution by, for example, contesting the meaning and value of information and rethinking what it means to be human in a realtime, digitally-networked, global world in which we often cognize in concert with intelligent machines.”

Hansen understands the flashpoint between traditional cultural theorists and the tsunami of the digital and networked worlds. This is an under developed area within most art practice programs, and digital media programs. The first focuses on theory, often starting with Euro-centric philosophical and critical forms. The second hammers home programtic structure and exactitude. Hansen states”

“theorists simply overlook the non-representational, experiential, and massively diffuse impact of technologies on social and cultural life.”

Why is this so important, and why am I discussing it, without pretty pictures to accompany my arguments? Because Hansen has written two books,

New Philosophy for New Media and Bodies in Code, both devoted methodologically to a practice of experiencing the theoretical and technical significance of the digital revolution through the work of practicing new media artists, architects, and literary authors. (They) draw together 20th century phenomenology, recent cognitive (neuro)science, and (neo-) cybernetic discourses.

Bodies in Code seems particularly compelling, because it knits together the underlying reason for this blog focusing on 3D .

Bodies in Code explores how our bodies experience and adapt to digital environments. Cyberculture theorists have tended to overlook biological reality when talking about virtual reality, and Mark B. N. Hansen’s book shows what they’ve been missing. Cyberspace is anchored in the body, he argues, and it’s the body—not high-tech computer graphics—that allows a person to feel like they are really ”moving” through virtual reality.

I will interject part of this book in between observations on 3D culture.