While we are still learning the vocabulary that describes the digital spaces that occupy so much of our time, add ‘new aesthetic‘ and ‘hybrid reality‘ to your list, alongside augmentation, virtual, and singularity. Art has always reflected culture, so it is no mistake that digital is now bleeding into our physical landscapes, while at the same time artists take advantage of digital tools and platforms to create works in digital space. (When’s the last time you checked out 2nd Life to see what’s going on among the artist communities there? Or Skrillex, for that matter.)
This bleeding, the interface of physical and digital space, and the sharing and transformations taking place in either, is being thought of as a hybrid reality, most recently described in the book by the same name by authors Ayesha and Parag Khanna. James Bridle has captured the new aesthetic in this video of his talk at Web Directions this past October.
There’s a lot to think about here. Is there a new culture emerging as a result of digital immersion, or is it simply current culture being imposed on a different landscape? Or both? Is augmentation taking place is both spaces, physical and digital?
It’s the user that occupies both spaces, simultaneously, who’s perceptions are being changed. How will that effect our culture? Buffalo Springfield’s For What It’s Worth: “something’s happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear” has been the soundtrack playing in the back of my head for about six months now as I’ve pondered all this, attempting to “pwn” it – that’s geek for ‘grok’.
There’s no question the times are changing. A new hymn to Apple replaces the old ballpark chorus:
we all screen,
(Apologies to David Brin for morphing off a thought in his new book Existence, get it!)
If this youngest generation is generation z, then it only seems appropriate that the next be Alpha prime. We’re heading into whole new territories and we’re only six clicks of separation from one another.