On the transformation of everyday culture in an era of liquid modernity

Archive for the ‘aesthetics’ Category

Avatar 3D as cinematic milestone

In aesthetics, economy, media history, movies, philosophy, politics, review on January 7, 2010 at 7:41 pm

Good action movies tend to put their CGI-generated finger on some sort of zeitgeist. James Cameron’s Avatar does, as it not only currently makes the prime example of 3D cinema as media technology, but also contains some telling clues to current philosophical, economic and political debates.

In terms of media history, 3D cinema will probably entail a rebirth of the whole Hollywood experience; particularly the screening as an event, a unique experience. This will especially come to show later in 2010, when Alice in Wonderland premieres as a Tim Burton-directed 3D movie.

The big 3D premiere of 2009, James Cameron’s Avatar, was in some ways a brilliant experience. Sure, we were expecting critical doses of trustafarian cod-spiritualism and new age (similar to the Matrix trilogy’s “Zion”). We were expecting overly evident metaphors and a lot of Messianic hubris – but so is the nature of the genre. Those things aside, it is as driven and inspired a story as Terminator 2 or the first Matrix movie ever were. Read the rest of this entry »

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I fought a loudness war

In aesthetics, art, everyday life, media ecology, music, philosophy on October 5, 2009 at 9:17 pm

One of the most striking features of popular music in the last decade has been the “loudness war”. The music we listen to has become increasingly louder in the last 20 years, as it is now music industry standard to try and make the soundwaves contained within a sound file as maximised as possible, in terms of loudness.

By a combination of extreme compression of the dynamic range and make-up gain, the sound range is boosted to a more uniform level, removing the peaks and troughs that would normally separate a quieter verse from a pumping chorus. (Read more about it here and here.)

As this is the normative aesthetic nowadays – “it has to sound like this” – the sociology of music should really sharpen its ears and point them in this direction. It is extremely interesting in terms its philosophical implications. So, let us delve deeper into the aesthetic implications of loudness below!

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