Date of Award

May 2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Committee Member

Victor J. Vitanza

Committee Member

David Blakesley

Committee Member

Beth Lauritis

Committee Member

Kelly Caine

Abstract

This work concerns the rise of the New Aesthetic, an art project developed by James Bridle in 2012. The New Aesthetic, as envisioned by Bridle, was chiefly concerned with the overlapping of physical and digital realities through both the artifacts produced by this overlapping and the systems involved therein. I introduce the advent of the New Aesthetic and present the major criticisms: the lack of a robust theoretical and scholarly framework, the lack of a historical framework, the privileging of artifacts over systems as new Aesthetic, and the fragmented scholarly outlook on the New Aesthetic.

Upon further examination, I discovered that the New Aesthetic is less of an art project but a metaphor for a global surveillance apparatus that is the result of clandestine partnerships between multinational technology corporations and intelligence agencies associated the Five Eyes consortium.

In this dissertation, I critique the New Aesthetic from a scholarly viewpoint, offer a historical precedent of how the New Aesthetic came to be from cultural and technological perspectives, examine the rise of the global surveillance apparatus within the New Aesthetic, and offer ideas of how to resist surveillance as a result of our reliance upon computational technologies.

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