Influenced By The Way Computers See The World

- - The Future

I stumbled upon this idea called “The New Aesthetic” yesterday while I was thinking about photographers harnessing and making sense of the photographic noise online. When I think about people tackling projects that are important and ambitious they almost always include writing, photography and video. What I see as the elephant in the room is ignoring the millions of images already available and sitting online in social applications and the images being churned out by the second as you work on your project.

But, when I mention curation the immediate thought is to see yourself sifting thorough piles of crappy images looking for gems to add to your project. So, when JB sent me a link to and I discovered a story titled “Is the New Aesthetic a Thing? ” I had a Eureka moment. New Aesthetic is “an aesthetic influenced by the way computers see the world” which is being interpreted in many ways (including annoying 8-bit despite the fact that everyone is raving about retina displays), but what makes sense to me is that what’s online is presented in ways that only computers can. Mostly I think of algorithmic interpretations where programs do the sifting, but there are other examples of people using the resources to create interesting works:

Michael Wolf’s street view.

Pep Ventosa’s collective snapshot.

So, after reading lots of articles on “The New Aesthetic” (, An Essay on the New Aesthetic, Noisy Decent Graphics,Why the New Aesthetic isn’t about 8bit retro, Responding To Bruce Sterling’s “Essay On The New Aesthetic, Report from Austin, Texas, on the New Aesthetic panel at SXSW. ) I honestly don’t know what it will look like when people apply the idea to their projects, but I do see an elephant in the room, so instead of reacting with fear I think everyone should be thinking of ways to own and incorporate “The New Aesthetic” into projects.

There Are 6 Comments On This Article.

  1. This work and “new aesthetic” follows the vision of cubism. It feels very similar to the photo joiners David Hockney created in the early 80s. I think what is interesting is how technology shapes our experience. As our environment becomes increasingly mediated, so does our experience. This results in a fragmented experience. My ow work is related to these ideas. Thanks for sharing.


  2. Thanks for showing these. I suppose they amount to what we humanities grads with exposure to the late 70s French theories would have called “meta” analysis, i.e. metaphotography, or photography of or about photography. Wolf’s stuff is pretty conceptual, more verbal and theoretical than visual interest, but Ventosa’s images have a merit of their own as images, in addition to anything they “say” in verbal terms about the substrate images.