On Digital Aesthetics: Sense-Data and Atmospheric Language
This article examines how the formation of data can be seen as an aesthetic way of making sense. Following work in digital aesthetics, the article proposes to understand digital artifacts and processes via formalization and operation of media language. Li traces this idea through several examples from recent literature, film, games, and artwork in South-East Asia. Together with these examples, Deleuze’s philosophical thoughts on a genesis of sense production are re-considered in order to understand a formal way of making sense in producing the new. The notion of “abstraction” from ancient Chinese mathematical thought offers a re-consideration of Deleuze’s “intensive virtual”, that is, the way the formal, the operative and abstraction determine the extensive intensive. Sense-Data and atmospheric language address computation’s materiality in engendering the formal and the operative modalities of media language, as a way of producing states of being and becoming in cultural activities in which the digital is an agency.
Erroneous Assumptions: Steve Tomasula’s Ascension
Taking an ironic, Icarian twist on Steve Tomasula's Ascension, Stuart Moulthrop situates Tomasula's novel in a subterranean, encyclopedic lineage that includes print fictions like Joyce’s Ulysses, Dos Passos’ U.S.A. trilogy, Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, DeLillo’s Underworld, David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest, and Zadie Smith’s White Teeth – novels that are, as Edward Mendelson put it, “the products of an epoch in which the world's knowledge is larger than any one person can encompass.” It's an experimental lineage that is, arguably, one of the more noteworthy carryovers from print to digital literature; a genre that Moulthrop (2013) and his near contemporary Michael Joyce (2007) have termed the “novel of internet.”