Accelerated Aesthetics

Carol Vernallis

in The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media

Published in print December 2013 | ISBN: 9780199757640
Published online December 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199984718 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Accelerated Aesthetics

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This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media edited by Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog, and John Richardson. This essay argues that contemporary digital media present forms of space, time, and rhythm that we haven’t seen. These new forms bear some similarities to contemporary experiences like work speedup, multitasking, and just-in-time labor. One can only guess why this is happening and its causes and effects. A Frankfurt School perspective might note that forms of entertainment replicate labor so we can better toil under oppressive conditions. Marshall McLuhan might claim that the digital has infiltrated entertainment, finance, and labor; hence, there’s a homology between them. This essay suggests that both perspectives grasp something: becoming more aware of the patterns of space, time, and rhythm in media and in work speedup might help us to adapt to social change. We might even work to train our forms of attention so that we can handle the shocks of contemporary society with more grace, care, and awareness.

Keywords: music video; audiovisual; aesthetics; style; history; digital; technology

Article.  5205 words. 

Subjects: Music and Media

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