Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

March 18, 2021
by Aesthetics for Birds
6 Comments

The NFT: A Wealth and Poverty Of Imagination

NFTs are an attempt to create value. It is very true that this may help artists, and to the extent that this is really at the heart of any of the thinking around it, it should be commended. But we should ask whether that’s really the best solution. Continue reading

September 9, 2020
by Matt Strohl
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Arguing About Art on the Internet, Part 1: Why We Do It, and Why It Often Goes Badly

What follows is a co-authored post by Brandon Polite and Matthew Strohl. It is the first piece in a two-part series. See part two here. The ascendancy of the internet has generated a wide range of difficult new questions for philosophers of aesthetics. Our concern in this piece is the way the internet has reshaped aesthetic discourse and has made aesthetic disagreement far more immediate and pervasive. Social media allows users to broadcast their evaluations of artworks to hundreds or thousands of followers any time of day and, as a result, has ushered in the Golden Age of Everyone Having an Opinion. We are specifically concerned with the general tendency of the internet to promote hostility in aesthetic discourse. Rampant hostility has emerged in a wide variety of contexts, ranging from large-scale fan movements to remake a poorly received season of a widely loved television series or a controversial entry … Continue reading

May 21, 2020
by Alex King
2 Comments

AFB’S TERMS OF ART #39: MEME & MEMETICS

Now that increasing numbers of people are stuck at home and sheltering in place, I figured I’d do a little series. Every weekday for the duration of this intense period, I’ll post a short definition of some term in/related to aesthetics and philosophy of art. Let’s see how this goes! See them all here. Terms of Art #39: meme & memetics

December 31, 2019
by Aesthetics for Birds
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AFB Staff List Their Top 10 of the Decade

This year marks the end of the second decade of the 2000s. In honor of this, we thought we’d take a look back at our decade with an end-of-year series. The internet loves lists, especially year-end ones, and we’ve been feeding that love a little bit this December. We have hosted six lists of expert Decade-Best picks, including movies, games, writing, TV, music, and art. Our previous experts have been philosophers and other academics whose work concerns these topics, and people working in/on the relevant media. Today, we have a slightly different theme. Our experts are our own Aesthetics for Birds staff, and they’ll be giving their Top Ten lists across all media and genres, no restrictions (though with some extra effort to include stuff in categories not already covered). It’s art and aesthetics in the broadest possible sense. So without further delay, let’s see this decade’s top aesthetic offerings. … Continue reading

April 18, 2018
by Aesthetics for Birds
2 Comments

#nofilter: Philosophical Reflections on Photography in the Age Of Instagram

What follows is a guest post by Daniel Star (Boston University). All photographs are the author’s own. (Readers are encouraged to follow the links in captions for full-size, full-resolution images.) We’ve all seen it. Maybe we’ve done it. Maybe we’ve “liked” it. Someone takes a snapshot of a wonderful sunset with a smartphone and posts it on a social media site with the “#nofilter” hashtag. This is one of the most popular hashtags on Instagram, and it is now also used widely on Facebook and Twitter. The sunset was no doubt beautiful (sunsets tend to be beautiful), but it’s unlikely that the photograph itself was of a high quality – smartphone shots rarely are, and even a setting sun will tend to blow out highlights (bright regions in images, see below), leaving empty space in part of the photo. Perhaps this doesn’t matter, because the point of such a social … Continue reading

November 2, 2017
by C. Thi Nguyen
6 Comments

Algorithmic Satire

We are witnessing the birth of a new comedic form: satire by algorithm. You want to make fun of some category of thing, and show how empty and mechanical and simplistic all the examples of that thing are. So you make a bot that randomly generates new examples of that thing. And the entire point is that it’s a bot. And often, it’s utterly crucial that it’s a dumb and obvious bot. This is why isolated exposure to the only one or two bot-Tweets or bot-memes doesn’t get you the full package. The real sharp end of the joke hits when you start to catch on to the rules, when the raw and obviously algorithmic nature of the bot reveals the utter banal predictability of its target.