Philip K. Dick after seeing parts of Blade Runner:
“…this indeed is not science fiction; it is not fantasy; it is exactly what Harrison said: futurism. The impact of Blade Runner is simply going to be overwhelming, both on the public and on creative people — and, I believe, on science fiction as a field.”
Just finished reading Alain de Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness. It is chockfull of worthwhile bits but towards the end are a few that I’ll just highlight. These offer a nice way of thinking about culture and how it can be actively changed.
Contrary to the Romantic belief that we each settle naturally on a fitting idea of beauty, it seems that our visual and emotional faculties in fact need constant external guidance to help them decide what they should take note of and appreciate. ‘Culture’ is the word we have assigned to the force that assists us in identifying which of our many sensations we should focus on and apportion value to.
(Emphasis mine.) And further on, some notes on how cultural works can legitimize tastes otherwise kept private:
For all that we mock those fake aesthetic enthusiasms in hopes of gaining respect, the opposite tendency is the more poignant, whereby we repress our true passions in order not to seem peculiar. […] It is books, poems and paintings which often give us the confidence to take seriously feelings in ourselves that we might otherwise never have thought to acknowledge.
I like the encouragement to be public about the things you like but feel self conscious about. Those are probably the most interesting things. That might actually a good guideline for what to post here.
And to Botton’s list I’d add games and other contemporary aesthetic forms of course.
I really enjoyed reading this while at the same time seeing the whole New Aesthetic thing really take off. De Botton points out not much is needed to kick off a new movement:
A few buildings and a book have usually been sufficient to provide viable models for others to follow.
Or, you know, a tumblr and a fewhacks. You don’t need a lot of cash to make a cultural movement happen. But you do need to be persistent.
In all of these tectonic shifts, the tenacity of the prime movers was every bit as important as the resources at their disposal.
This idea of labour being hidden in things, and the value of things arising from the labour congealed inside them, is an unexpectedly powerful explanatory tool in the digital world. … When you start looking for this mechanism at work in the contemporary world you see it everywhere, often in the form of surplus value being created by you, the customer or client of a company. Online check-in and bag drop at airports, for example.
This reminds me a lot of Tesler’s Law which states that the complexity inherent in a system is constant and can only be shifted from product to user or back.
Also found in this week’s Groene: amusing commentary from a Syrian woman on amusement park the Efteling. “You Westerners must be bored.”
Interesting piece in this week’s Groene on John Berger’s book Why Look at Animals. The quote refers to the seemingly contradictory attitude farmers have to their animals: they appreciate them for the live beings they are as well as for the product they become. Something I can relate to, despite being an urbanite who according to Berger can’t really understand.
retro ’80s graphics are sentimental fluff for modern adults who grew up in front of 1980s game-console machines. Eight-bit graphics are pretty easy to carve out of styrofoam. There’s a low barrier-to-entry in making sculpture from 8‑bit, so that you can “rupture the interface between the digital and the physical.” However 8‑bit sculptures are a cute, backward-looking rupture.
I’m reading De Botton’s The Architecture of Happiness at the moment. Its discussion of the things that determine taste has lead me to wonder what it is people find appealing about the New Aesthetic. A lot of the discussion about it is very cerebral. “What is it?” etc. What I’m interested in is: why do we find it interesting / beautiful / etc. Because after all, “There are as many styles of beauty as there are visions of happiness.”