"The generations to come of age in the days of digital publishing and reading on screens have a much more complicated relationship with images. The human eye-brain system is capable of reading a large number of high quality images in a matter of split seconds, and this, alongside the hand-eye coordination—think about the pleasure of a touch screen versus inky newspaper pages—is rapidly developing to mirror our changing habits of consuming information. So much so that the contemporary heightened sensitivity to the way we read images can lead to an ability to, at times, ignore the quality of the images when inserted into a text, the way our brain glides over a typo in the flow of reading. The way we read images online is only one thing these magazines deal with in the process of publishing, but it is surely an element that dictates a large portion of the reading experience of these publications.
When requesting images for a print publication, some guidelines are quite clear: The digital image needs to be 300dpi, it needs to be of a certain size, measured in inches and centimeters rather than pixels, and (at least usually) the rights for it need to be cleared. Online publishing muddles all of these. While some of the publications contacted for this article attested that they have a photo editor or image editor (the leap to “image editor” in order to describe publishing in the online sphere is slowly being made. As Whitaker noted, “It points to an opening up of the field to include the non-photographic image”), their role is more curatorial than that of a traditional image editor. Are there any rules as to which images are published, the way they are retrieved, and their integration in the magazines? Surely, many images are harvested from a variety of online repository, Google Images being the obvious example. This nods to the flattening of the digital image in a complicated way. On screen, the different kinds of images—say, film stills, digital or analogue photography, digital renderings, and so forth—can be quite similar. While we are becoming increasingly visually literate, few are the people who truly interact with the distinction between the digital image and the physical print. No one is stunned anymore by the idea of a collector buying a photograph based on an image sent to him or her via email from a gallery. The printing process—moving from the screen to the physical object, that is—becomes a formality.”
"To me, the idea that our dominant contemporary aesthetic is one that explores “a way of seeing that seems to reveal a blurring between ‘the real’ and ‘the digital,’ the physical and the virtual, the human and the machine” was kind of a no brainer. We’ve been covering projects that tackle this physical/digital grey area for years, but the recent proliferation of this aesthetic in mainstream culture is what seems to give it new weight and, according to Sterling, the makings of a new avant-garde."
"There really is no excuse for being technoculture illiterate if you’re under 40 and living in the Western world. You can plead ignorance of the technological specifics, but not of the cultural effects produced by the gadgets and interfaces that have invaded your life. Technology is not something that happens to other people, nor can you escape it by hiding out in “the humanities.” To be human is to be technological."
"The New Aesthetic isn’t Impressionism or Cubism. Revolutionary art is not shocking and provoking society, as it did in the case of Monet and Picasso. The New Aesthetic, as it exists in drone technology and Google Maps imagery and data surveillance, represents a ground-level change in our existence. Instead of shocking society, New Aesthetic art must respond to a shocked society and turn the changes we’re confronting into critical artistic creation. Artists are only just starting to take the raw material of the New Aesthetic and aestheticize it in a conscious, intelligent way.
What we need to do now is to go native, to stop gathering data points and start making things in the intrinsic language of New Aesthetic. Here’s my forecast for fulfilling the potential of this new medium: We will not just observe how machines act and perceive, but integrate how they act and perceive into our own sensory experiences and creative processes. As the digital and the physical move closer and closer, that combination will eventually look less like a hybrid and more like a united whole, the new aesthetic reality.”
"The fact that your laptop is arguably “less intelligent than a goldfish” does not stop us from collaborating with machines to access new experiences and augment our creative capacity. Interacting with computers, with the world of information and each other through these interfaces has irreversibly transformed us.
The tools we make shape culture. The culture of technology is a human culture and a human experience. Reconciling with our inventions, we embrace the stylized pixel-goo as a reflection of ourselves. An aesthetic based on computational systems and their associated visual memes has become fashionable and beautiful, indicating a broader acceptance of digital prostheses as essential to contemporary life. That integration of visual technologies into our cultural lexicon will only continue.”
“New Aesthetics is not simply an aesthetic fetish of the texture of these images, but an inquiry into the objects that make them. It’s an attempt to imagine the inner lives of the native objects of the 21st century and to visualize how they imagine us.
Moreover, as Object-Oriented thinkers, New Aestheticians are interested not just in the significance of face detection algorithms, surveillance drones, gesture recognition systems, image compression techniques, CCTV networks, book-scanning operations, satellite maps, and digital fabrication schemes for humans but they’re also obsessed with how these new 21st century objects impact the things we design and cohabitate with. They want to know what CCTV means for social networks, what book scanning means for iOS apps, and what face detection means for fashion. And again these objects are not just interesting to each other as a set of constraints and affordances for the objects’ human makers but for the hidden inner lives of the objects themselves throughout their existence.”
When asked about the “new” in “Notes on a New Nature,” O’Brien explained that “the new is the digital, and the way the digital reflects on the virtual” qualities of landscape. “Yet the new is not new, it’s something we’ve been looking at for a long time” — from cave paintings to Cezanne and on. “The newness is this paradox that we’re facing of representing landscape, this thing that’s supposed to be natural, physical, optic, and haptic, but we’re representing it in this medium that’s not those things,” the curator said. “The paradox that we see between the digital and the physical no longer seems relevant to me.”