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 to the aesthetic quality of those works. Thus artists banded together, particularly in the Bauhaus, to reinvigorate objects along aesthetic lines. Today, something similar is happening in terms of images. Indeed, the proliferation of photos and drawings invading and saturating our visual space would seem to negate their aesthetic 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. Such use of the new media suggested a limited visual language, one that does not allow those taking photos to differentiate between their visit to Eurodisney and their visit to Auschwitz.

I observe a similar phenomenon from images published in 4chan. 4chan is a social network that does not censorits users, so it is often frequented by extremist militants of every persuasion 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?

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