The Hyper-Noise Aesthetics of an Exquisite Monster Sacré : Annoyance and its Allowances in the Age of the Digital Surveillance State
Art of Noise Conundrums
In the beginning was the noise.
Recently in my book
Immersion Into Noise
(2011) I have mapped out a broad-spectrum of aestheticactivity I call the
art of noise
by tracing its past eruptions where figure/ground merge and flip thecommon emphasis to some extent.
Immersion Into Noise
concludes with a look at the figural aspect of this aesthetic lodged within the ground of consciousness itself.In this paper, I will address noiseaesthetics and the art context within our broad-spectrum data-monitoring info-economy environment of background machine-to-machine gigabyte communication murmur - and think through and deploy
as an embedded subject within the larger environment of ubiquitous computing cognitivecapitalism.This text will attempt then to think through an under the radar speculative reality of noiseaesthetics in the era of algorithmic globalization. To do so, I will be examining some trends and vivid prospects for what I have been speculatively calling
noise art -
that is visual art as compared to
. In brief, noise art aestheticsis a kind of unbound zone (where qualitative shifts of coordinates takes place) in which it is possible to carry out art experiments that would be unachievable in a different place. What noise art aesthetics has to offer is the possibility to understand things in a different way,shifting boundaries, departing from established functions.This paper is somewhat of a reaction to what some interesting contemporary philosophers have beensaying about contemporary art. Most notably, the surprising talk "The Next Avant-Garde" that the philosopher Graham Harman gave at the
Aesthetics in the 21st Century
Conference at the University of Basel in September that engaged me with the recent
turn in continental philosophy and aesthetics. In that talk Harman criticizes Relational Art, calling it convivial art, so asto circle back to the formalist, media specific aesthetics of the art critic Clement Greenberg where artobjects are free of the “tyranny of context” (but let’s not forget that they are already swallowed up inthe politics of abstraction). This supposed context freedom merges efficiently with Harman’s theory of Object-oriented ontology(OOO) but seemed somewhat at odds with his proclaiming that “theremust be a new avant-garde in every field” that we cannot predict. Harman then touched on the subjectof figure/ground relations (the main focus of my noise art aesthetic theory) in terms of anthropomorphic free, flat ontology without going very far in addressing the human specialness(relationality) involved in viewing certain artworks. So soon after, I mentioned to him the irony of theintense dislike that Clement Greenberg had for the late work of Jackson Pollock, where Pollock playedwith figure/ground indeterminate states of ambiguity.Indeed there are several vital planes of convergence between these two figure/ground poles (particularly in their critique of politicaldomination and authority) that can be teased out with the art of noise. Thus this paper will be somewhatof a friendly response to Harman’s talk.