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Info Aesthetics

A semi-open source book/Web site in progress. Project started 8/00, last update 10/27/01.

Summary (updated 10/28/01)
Info-Aesthetics scans contemporary culture to detect emerging aesthetics and computer-based cultural forms specific to information society. Its method is a systematic comparison of our own period with the beginning of the 20th century when modernist artists created new aesthetics, new forms, new representational techniques, and new symbols of industrial society. How can we go about searching for their equivalents in information society – and does this very question make sense? Can there be forms specific to information society, given that software and computer networks redefine the very concept of form as something solid, stable and limited in space and time?

There are radically new representational techniques unique to own time, given that new media has largely been used in the service of older visual languages and media practices: Web TV, electronic book, interactive cinema? Can information society be represented iconically, if all its most characteristic activities – information processing, interaction between a human and a computer, telecommunication, networking – are dynamic processes? How does the super-human scale of our information structures – from 16 million lines of computer codes making Windows OS, to forty years which would take one viewer to watch all video interviews stored on digital servers of the Shoah Foundation, to the Web itself which cannot be even mapped as a whole – be translated to the scale of human perception and cognition?

In short, if the shift from modernism to informationalism (the term of Manual Castells) has been accompanied by a shift from form to information, can we reduce information to forms, meaningful to a human?

Book  2001