Chapter

Destructive Creativity

Alan Liu

in The Laws of Cool

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2004 | ISBN: 9780226486987
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226487007 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226487007.003.0016
Destructive Creativity

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The rationale of contemporary knowledge work is “creative destruction,” with the emphasis on “creative” and almost no serious reflection on “destruction.” The question of a future aesthetics is the question of the general legitimation of art in such an age of creative destruction. What is the function of the creative arts in a world of perpetually “innovative” information and knowledge work? The special potential of the arts in the age of knowledge work may well be to complement the humanities lesson that “cool has a history” with the crucial inverse of that lesson: history can be cool. Cool à la mode—the cool of the instantaneous present—can no longer be the exclusive obsession of knowledge workers. In the age of “creative destruction,” the sense of history will also need to be cool. This chapter looks at viral aesthetics and the potential of the new aesthetics of “destructive creativity” in the information age.

Keywords: knowledge work; information age; cool; creative destruction; creative arts; viral aesthetics; history

Chapter.  21003 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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