Everything that arises does not converge: the audiovisual and the incomplete
Computational culture is often explored through discourses of completion and in terms of the complete and this bias extends to accounts exploring new media and the senses, where it may be expressed in terms of priority as an assertion of the ‘proper’ ratio of the senses. In response this article explores the aesthetics of the incomplete, the latter understood as an intrinsic element of new media culture rather than an exception. It begins with claims that new media are essentially (ontologically) sonic, reading this in contrast to the New Aesthetic and visual glitch and focussing on the consequences of the NA’s fierce concentration on the visual. This frames a consideration of sonic glitch in a public sound art work in which audiovisual technologies are reprogrammed to break down language – and open up a form of common space. The article concludes that the incomplete can be productively viewed as an intrinsic part of the contemporary digital formation: something ontologically given, but also something invoked, worked with and used in different ways. An issue for sound art, in this context, is to find ways to intervene in the incomplete rather than let it become (another) site for the reflection and activation of existing industrial values.
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