The new space aged aesthetics.
I’m still trying to puzzle out the aesthetics of our age. My sense is that it can be informed by either or both modernist and post-modernist tendencies and traditions. But I don’t want to stray too far down the path of irrelevant academic language and exercises in this. But it does seem there is a mood out there, a zeitgeist of our era, that should be describable, if even only as “indescribable.” This post, and line of exploration in general, is a work in progress, so please indulge in the ramble. Any thoughts?
First off, which age? Cyberspace age? Too 1980s. Certainly ours is a multi-disciplinary age. (Aaah, but this sounds too academic–careful, Jushi…) But how to define it? Is it all about the new? Well, no: viz. steampunk, for one. Old remade as new–nothing new about that. The aesthetics of our times are, of course, endlessly varied, leading to cross pollination of all sorts.
At this point, I’m tending towards The Space Age. But our Space Age is born from within the Information, or Media, Age. A bit of a difference there than from the past space age, whether you think the 60s or 80s when you read that. Yes, there’s still outer space as always, but inner space more than ever, plus social space, political space, and cyber space. All of this space provides us with places to express ourselves more loudly than before, while closely rubbing up against others doing same, only differently.
To say our lives are interconnected now more than ever is true enough, but what else? Where are we going with all this? Are we simply becoming at once more connected yet more fragmented as a social planet, without any implications?
There’s a lot to like about expressing oneself in this mashed-up world, but I suspect our hardwiring is changing, and I’m not sure we’ve questioned deeply enough whether this is a good thing.
We have now a fairly extensive and growing history of information and visual media at our disposal, as well as the easy means to manipulate it. Our very lives are saturated by media messages and communities, sometimes with our participation or acceptance, sometimes not.
The recent and ongoing events in Iran around the sham non-election show that space and the way we use it matters a lot. Don’t kid yourself: the thugocratic clerics are feeling the hard stare of global eyes, and the protesters know it. They’re using physical space to their advantage, attracting camera space, headspace, and wireless space to pressure the political space totalitarian regimes think protects and empowers them.
So is our zeitgeist this constant, never-ending, in-your-face exposure to one another’s whims and interests, etc both within our headspace and without? What do the aesthetics of this kind of life look like? Where’re we heading with this? Aaah, the unknown of the future…