Neo Biedermeier: AI and the Contemporary Aesthetic Landscape

a Conversation x Poetics of Encryption

11 April 2024 from 20:00  – open end | free, please register


About the event

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For about a decade a number of journalists, art historians and home decor magazines have been claiming that – in times of digitalization, globalization and polycrises, as many people retreat into the idyllic and private sphere – Biedermeier is back. Online phenomena such as the trad wife trend as well as cottage, cabin, comfy or cozycore aesthetics mirror a similar desire far beyond German contexts. The claim of this panel is that AI tools are particularly well suited to develop the visual language for conservative worldbuilding and that – with the rise and now mainstream availability of AI image generating tools – these trends and the implications that go with them carry even more weight.

Originating as a descriptor for a specific furniture style, Biedermeier gradually expanded its scope in the german-speaking countries of the early 19th century, to encompass genre painting, eventually encapsulating the bourgeois lifestyle and mentality from the Congress of Vienna in 1814/1815 to the 1848 Revolution. The term “Vormärz” emerged concurrently, denoting the opposing political movement advocating for revolutionary change during this transformative period. The Biedermeier era marked the emergence of a distinctive culture and art of the bourgeoisie, manifesting in various aspects such as house music, interior design, fashion, and literature of the time. These expressions were often characterized as ‘homely’ or ‘conservative,’ focussing on privacy and aestheticizing domestic life.

The possibility to create entire worlds through AI-generated images may provide a sense of control and authority, at least to well-trained prompters, that is in line with the (Neo) Biedermeier mindset. These AI-generated image worlds are using a standardized, visually familiar language, they tend to favor and perpetuate commercial and standardized aesthetics. The generated environments often resemble the familiar, reinforcing conservative or even fascist imagery.

The discussion prompts reflection on the consequences of standardized aesthetics and the artistic strategies that might be used to navigate them in an era dominated by AI-generated imagery.

Live-Set at Panke Club with MetaCuts starting at 9.30 pm

After the panel discussion, Panke Club will host the platform MetaCuts, who are inviting artists to dive into the sonic dimension of D&B, jungle, bass and dub, highlighting the connection between digital and network-based arts, sound and poetry. For this iteration, there will be live and DJ sets by BarbNerdy(Support Your Local Ghetto), BassDee (Radio Massive / Hidden Hawaii), Cybermission (Emotional Waves), Flo The Deejay(HHY & The Kampala Unit / Nyege Nyege), Paulawar(Takseer) and a Post Internet Sludge VJ set by Clusterduck.

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