Beauty and Technology

Beauty and Technology

At the beginning of the last century, artists observed that the multiplication of manufactured objects in industrial production was detrimental for their aesthetic quality. This situation led them to group together, particularly in the Bauhaus, to make up for this lack. Today, a similar observation seems to be made in relation to images. Indeed, the proliferation of photos and drawings that invade and saturate our visual space would seem to be to the disadvantage of their quality, or at least their diversity.

Thus, the management of the Auschwitz Memorial had to appeal to visitors to moderate the use of selfies out of respect for the site. The users of the new media, constantly surrounded by images, would thus possess only a limited visual language, not allowing them to refer in a differentiated manner to their visit to Eurodisney from that made at Auschwitz.

The same observation can be made from images published in 4chan. 4chan is a social network that does no censorship for users, so it is often frequented by extremist militants of all stripes to post messages which are often very aggressive in form and content. Nevertheless, if we exclude photos and drawings with explicit sexual content, the images posted on this network seem relatively neutral in relation to the texts that accompany them. As if, once again, users lacked the grammar and/or visual vocabulary necessary to illustrate thoughts that they express much more clearly in written form.

Is this really a lack, or are we dealing with a more subtle language that requires a thorough knowledge of its codes in order to understand it in all its nuances?

This research is carried on five social networks as sources for this work: Tweeter (very popular network for all types of exchanges), 4chan (already mentioned, this network accepts all content, except paedophile content, without restriction or censorship), Flicker (photo-sharing network, very visual and often with an "artistic" vocation), Instagram (network also specialized in sharing photos and videos - not necessarily artistic - very popular) and reedit (particularly dedicated to memes: images reworked and diverted from their original use).