Random Darknet Shopper

Kind of along the lines of Google Will Eat Itself, but for darknet goods:

An automated online shopping bot with a budget of $100 a week in Bitcoin, is programmed to do a very specific task: go to one particular marketplace on the Deep Web and make one random purchase a week with the provided allowance. The purchases have all been compiled for an art show in Zurich … the programmers came home one day to find a shipment of 10 ecstasy pills, followed by an apparently very legit falsified Hungarian passport.

The article is mainly concerned with the question of “is it legal?” This, to me, seems like a terrible metric for an art project.

Link via New Aesthetic

PBS Idea Channel on Hologram Tupac

Nostalgia vs. New Aesthetic.

via Kenyatta, who says “exactly what a webseries should look like in 2012.”


Events for May 23–June 3, 2012

Looks like the last time I posted events here was in 2010, just before Bushwick Open Studios. Well it’s that time of year again!

  • We Are All Anonymous, Tonight May 23rd, 7pm at Triple Canopy, 155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn, NY (sadly I won’t be able to make this, but it sounds awesome)
  • Flux Death Match: The New Aesthetic, Wednesday May 30th, 8pm at Flux Factory, 39-31 29th Street, Long Island City
  • Bushwick Open Studios 2012 with my Future Archaeology pals, June 1st and 2nd from 12–7pm. 1381 Myrtle Ave Apt 4C (entrance on Himrod St), near the Knickerbocker M train stop. I’ll be showing some of my recent photography work as well as Occupy.here.

Welcome to Life

“A science fiction story about what you see when you die. Or: the Singularity, ruined by lawyers.”

Link via OTM

Throw-away manifestos and the New Aesthetic

Adam Rothstein’s response to Bruce Sterling’s essay on the New Aesthetic:

The only manifesto for such a thing could be a Tumblr, and the confusion and consternation that such a lack of directness would cause is its own militancy. It may be irritatingly meta, but that an aesthetic that is largely about glitchy digital networks should be discussed only via glitchy digital networks is hardly surprising … There is a consistency in the drive to move past the manifesto itself, to let the aesthetic actually take over. The aesthetic may be a gooey sort of object-oriented ontology, or it might be a fetishization of pixels, but at some point we move past the urge to talk about what it is that we’re doing, and just start doing it. The forced rhetorical conviction becomes superfluous as the proposition becomes reality.


Kenneth Goldsmith on the New Aesthetic

I’ve been too distracted by other things to write much about the New Aesthetic, which started as a a blog post, then expanded into a Tumblr blog, then a SXSW panel (which I saw, and enjoyed very much). Now it’s become a kind of meme, I see equal parts “what is this thing” and “how do we talk about this?” And some jokey dismissals.

I’m not sure I’ve arrived at anything I could add to the conversation, but I like Kenneth Goldsmith’s take on it, published in the Poetry Foundation’s Harriet blog:

The Twenty-first century is invisible. We were promised jetpacks but ended up with handlebar moustaches. The surface of things is the wrong place to find the 21st century. Instead, the unseen, the Infrathin—those tiny devices in our pockets or the thick data-haze which permeates the air we breathe — locates us in the present. And in this way, The New Aesthetic is not so much a movement as it is a marker, a moment of observation which informs us that culture—along with its means of production and reception —has radically shifted beneath our feet while we were looking the other way.

He compares the New Aesthetic to New Writing (something I’m not familiar with), and points out that newer approaches in poetry are still ultimately relying on tree pulp for their final presentation:

Beginning with Mallarmé and ending with Language Poetry, the emergence of digital culture signified a break with modernism, replacing deconstructive tendencies with strategies informed by the workings of computers and the web: word processing, databasing, recycling, appropriation, intentional plagiarism, identity ciphering, and intensive programming, but to name a few. Yet the odd thing is that these practices, born of digital immersion, have not shown up exclusively on the screen, but more often have manifested themselves on the printed page.

Goldsmith’s essay reminded me of a counter-example, not meant to contradict what he’s saying, but maybe a model for a New Aesthetic approach to poetry. It’s a project called The Archanoids by Mathew Timmons, that collectively vocalizes sound poetry through online video and voice telephony.

There are still a few items in my Instapaper queue I want to finish before writing more substantially on the New Aesthetic, but if you haven’t read this Bruce Sterling essay on the topic, you should!