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Prof. Dr. Andreea C. Petrache - The New Media Aesthetics and Young Bloggers
         In the first part of this report, The New Media Aesthetics and Young Bloggers, we face with a young Romanian writer, Ionuţ Caragea, and his success in creating new media aesthetics. He believes that imagination must be developed by any means and that media culture should be used in pedagogical purposes to achieve this, either by creating a multi-media collage, a personal homepage or blog, as a space where art can be promoted and commented upon.
         By using the internet in cultural and pedagogical purposes, under a strict schedule and surveillance, children may shape an identity of active and educated consumers. Thus, the internet gains aesthetic value, surpassing its limits of a medium which promotes copy-paste technique and scrolling over photos, images and ready-made superficial news on social media. Ionuţ Caragea’s literature, blog and personal site are an example in this respect, assessing the internet as a medium which promotes culture and imagination, if it is used wisely. Caragea is, as he admits, a “Google Product”, who adapts his work of art to the new trends of Net Art.
         In this part of the thesis, we have focused on different ways of giving an aesthetic value to mass culture. As better informed and educated a person is, as more chances he has to resist to the consumerist society’s turmoil. An individual who has set his aesthetic boundaries high from early childhood, will be harder to be seduced by consumerist illusions of prosperity and happiness.
The New Media Aesthetics and Young Bloggers
         Through the rise of the new media aesthetics the possibility has been created for every owner of a homepage or blog to create or to comment on art. This kind of owner can post an essay, or a multi-media collage of poetry combined with music or painting. Every owner can construct his identity through the visual aspect of his homepage and the information provided on it. The Banking Section of the Homepage can coexist with a quote from Shakespeare or a dedication in verse. If deconstructionists had not done sufficiently much to demystify the existence of a coherent and stable meaning structure in texts, their contextualization through various activities and feedback gathered on the site has the effect of dispersing the attention of those interacting and linking simultaneously to other internet resources who are thus exposed to heterogeneous or even contradictory semantic fields. School can be the perfect place for creating multimedia sites, where children’s taste can be refined in order to develop their imagination and cultural appetite.
         Nowadays, children and especially teenagers are passive consumers of internet, being delighted to chat online or scroll Facebook. By using the Internet for cultural or pedagogical purposes, children transform themselves into active and educated consumers, capable of creating something personal and original. In this way the internet shows its aesthetic potential, its capacity to surpass its ill fame as a medium which does not promote culture and instead encourages copy-paste plagiarism.
         As we have seen in the previous chapters, the notion of art in general has suffered certain mutations. Whereas until the nineteenth century art could be divided into painting, literature, music, sculpture, and architecture, the subsequent industrial or mechanical developments have contributed to the rise of different art forms, such as photography, the movies, video and so on. “The assumption that artistic practice can be neatly organized into a small set of distinct mediums has continued to structure the organization of museum, art schools, funding agencies and other cultural institutions-even though this assumption no longer reflected the actual functioning of culture”(Manovich 2001: 1).
         Due to technological development, art mediums have started to interact and combine into hybrid forms, generating mutations which have in common a multiplicity of art forms, which can hardly be separated from each other. Although the loyalists of the Great Tradition”, as F.R. Leavis famously calls the high culture canon in his 1848 book, have raised the alert on the death of art, “among supporters of New Media Art, there is the idea that the new technologies have had a significant impact on artistic practice, and that art has the duty to explore this potential” (Quaranta 2013: 32). Types of new artistic forms have lately emerged: “assemblage, happening, installation (including its various sub-forms, such as site-specific installation and video-installation), performance, action, conceptual art, process art, intermedia, time-based art, etc” (Manovich 2001: 1), which generated a crisis in art theory. This crisis has at its core the conflict between traditional versus modern aesthetic definitions of art. As Manovich suggests in his article, a good example to offer in this respect is the difference between television and the video culture:
Both mass medium of television and art medium of video used the same material base (electronic signal which can be transmitted live or recorded on a tape) and also involved the same conditions of perception (television monitor). The only justifications of treating them as separate mediums were sociological and economic, i.e. the difference in sizes of their respective audiences, in mechanisms of distribution (via television network versus museum and gallery exhibition), and in the number of copies of a tape/program being made.
(Manovich 2001: 2)


         As we can see, people begin to think in sociological and economic terms, aesthetics being deprived of its modernist cult of autonomy while art is becoming indistinguishable from mass culture: “While modern art system involved circulation of objects which were either unique or existed in small editions, mass culture dealt mass distribution of identical copies-and thus depended on various mechanical and electronic reproduction and distribution technologies” (Manovich 2001: 2).
         The Digital Revolution is one more contributor to changes in the perception of art:
On the material level, the shift to digital representation and the common modification/editing tools which can be applied to most media (copy, paste, morph, interpolate, filter, composite, etc.) and which substitute traditional distinct artistic tools erased the difference between photography and painting (in the realm of still image) and between film and animation (in the realm of a moving image).
(Manovich 2001: 3)


         Concomitantly with the emergence of these artistic tools and the capacity of combining them, a new form of art has appeared, in the form of the multimedia document. New media aesthetics has conferred upon the Internet an important aesthetic value: “On the level of aesthetics, the Web has established a multimedia document (i.e. something which combines and mixes different media of text, photography, video, graphics and sound) as a new communication standard” (Manovich 2001: 3). This multimedia document knows different versions as it is adapted according to its audience, use and distribution networks: “And if one can make radically different versions of the same art object (…), the traditional strong link between the identity of an art object and its medium becomes broken” (Manovich 2001: 3).
         A homepage, a site, or a document posted on a person’s blog may have one viewer or a million, doing away with the gap between the art system and that of mass culture, as the difference between limited distribution and mass distribution has been, theoretically, removed. A new kind of art has thus been born at the turn of the 21st century, which may be labelled “Net Art”. But not everything which is based on internet technology may be subsumed under the umbrella term of Net Art. Authenticity is still a condition for validation: “The copyright industry stigmatises takeovers of some parts of an art work protected by copyright as piracy, as intellectual property theft. (…) Procedures of quotation, plagiarism and transformation are used for unveiling, exaggerating or alienating criticism of economic and social conditions” (Dreher 2013: web).
         In the Digital Era the emphasis is no longer on the text, but on its creator/user and his/her behaviour. In order to survive in an information society, an individual must permanently adapt to certain information behaviours which are connected to our everyday activities: checking mails or phone messages, using search engines or organizing folders in personal laptops. The individual is in permanent need of updating his activities so as to fit into a world of rapidly evolving technology. Information-related behaviour, or options in navigating the internet or using certain search engines can say a lot about one’s identity:
Like other concepts of information society such as software, data, and interface, the concept of information behaviour can be applied beyond specific information activities of the present, such as usage of Palm Pilot, Google or a metro system. It can be extended into a cultural sphere and also projected into the past. For instance, we may think about information behaviours used in reading literature, visiting a museum, surfing TV, or choosing which tracks to download from Napster. Applied to the past, the concept of information behaviour emphasizes that all past culture was not only about representing religious beliefs, glorifying rulers, creating beauty, legitimizing ruling ideologies, etc.-it was also about information processing. Artists developed new techniques of encoding information while listeners, readers and viewers developed their own cognitive techniques of extracting this information. The history of art is not only about the stylistic innovation, the struggle to represent reality, human fate, the relationship society and the individual, etc.-it is also the history of new information interfaces developed by artist, and the new information behaviours developed by users.
(Manovich 2001: 8)


         In the same degree as our information behaviours are shaped by society will society be readjusted by our information behaviours. They are interconnected and dependent on one another. As information behaviour is an attribute of the 21st century artists, they adapt their art works to the new trends of Net Art. They have understood that neither the artist nor the work of art is the main focus anymore, but the user:
The shift from the text to the reader took a number of forms and it can be thought of as following two stages. At the first stage, the abstract text of structuralism is being replaced by an abstract, ideal reader, as imagined by psychoanalysis (Kristeva) and psychoanalytically informed criticism, Apparatus Theory in film theory, or Reception Theory in literature. By the 1980 this abstract reader is being replaced by actual readers and reader communities, both contemporary and historical, as analyzed by Cultural Studies, ethnography, the study of historical reception of early cinema in film studies, etc.
(Manovich 2001: 10)


         In the Net Art era the artist is a sender, the reader is a receiver, and the work of art consists in a multimedia document. In the centre of this trajectory is the receiver. Another key aspect when dealing with technologized art is software: “Contemporary author (sender) uses software to create a text (message), and this software influences, or even shapes the kinds of texts being created.” (Manovich 2001: 11). It is very important that both the sender and the receiver have compatible software in order for the message to be decoded correctly, leaning thus on the active role of technology which generated a new “post-media or informational aesthetics” (Manovich 2001: 14).
         At the present moment art in all its forms draws inspiration from the visual, technologically processed arts. One of the artists who have come to terms with the circumstance that information behaviour is part of the 21st century poetics, managing to adapt his works to the new trends of Net Art, is Ionuţ Caragea, a young Romanian writer. He acknowledges being a “Google product” from the title of his 2007 book of poems, M-am născut pe Google (Born in the Google). In this book, the receiver is surprised to read titles such as: “Iubiri off-line” (Off-line Loves), “Download”, “Delete”, “Virtual”, “When the Memory Sticks…”, “Disconnect”, “The Page cannot be Displayed”. In this book, written both in Romanian and in English, the big number of neologisms is suggestive of the poet’s allegiance to novelty and experimentation. His poems are reader-friendly, centred on the receiver.
         Ionuţ Caragea casts a new, modern light on traditional themes such as love, death, friendship, mainly through the use of computer orientated vocabulary. He creates a fictional world, yet giving one a sense of authenticity. Through his way of putting words, he aestheticizes the over-saturated computerized world in which we live. The internet has a tremendous impact on the artist, or “sender” to be more precise, as he writes about everyday aspects of human life in technical Internet terms. In his 2006 review of Caragea’s book, M-am născut pe Google, George Filip quotes the lines about the link established between the artist and God, a link from which he downloads poetry (Caragea 2007: 7). One of the best poems in the volume is entitled Disconnect. We feel the need to quote the whole poem, as readers need to familiarize themselves with Caragea’s shockingly new style:


şi dacă pică serverul mai sunt poet?
şi dacă pică brusc internetul în toata lumea
cine va mai auzi de mine?
mi-ar placea sa se dea o lege
prin care să se interzică poezia în locurile publice
sa te duci în locurile special amenajate
cu un creion si o foaie de hârtie
să scrii numai pentru tine
ca şi când poezia ta
ar fi un inel de logodnă
sau o promisiune de iubire
mi-am rănit sufletul pe hârtie
într-o baltă de cuvinte
tu îi spui clişeu
deşeu sau pur şi simplu vorbărie
în timp ce poezia este o trecere de pietoni
între viaţă şi moarte
sau un mistreţ fugărit de alice
într-o pădure virgină
ceea ce scriu nu-i o simplă îndeletnicire
ci o dedicaţie pentru Dumnezeu
care uneori îţi pune palma
pe frunte
chiar daca viaţa înseamnă un spital
în care oamenii te tratează
cu pastile de sictir
în timp ce moartea inventariază
dacă ar pica internetul
aş merge cu picioarele goale prin ţărână
să simt trupul rece al înaintaşilor mei
sau m-aş tunde zero
să nu-şi dea nimeni seama
cât de frumos ninge
aş renunţa la această vorbărie
şi ţi-aş trage un şut acolo
te doare cel mai tare
să-ţi arăt
cât de mult te iubesc
m-am născut pe Google
toată lumea ştie
şi tot caut, tot caut locul
în care să mă spovedesc[1]                                   
(Caragea 2007:135)                                    
         The poem simulates a confession which the artist is trying to get through to the reader, but he does not manage to find the adequate tone for it. In a stifling era of computers and technology, divinity and sacred places are hard to find. Although the writer alleges at the end of the poem that he was born on the Google planet, symbolizing life in a computerized world, his poems are passed off as a divine gift, as God has endowed him with artistic talent. As the title of the poem shows, the writer is worried at the idea of Internet disconnectivity. As his work of art fits in the Net Art Era, what would happen if the internet server failed to connect? Who would read him anymore? The writer was born in the Google, but he does not consider himself or his artistic work a Google product. He manages to mock the Internet Era which transforms life into a hospital, the symbol of universal disease, where everyone is distant from his human kind and face-to-face communication is limited by technology. The metaphor of life as a hospital is also present in Baudelaire’s poems. Caragea’s poem quoted above is like an invitation for humanity to return to the traditional way of doing or interpreting literature, and art in general. Poetry should be prohibited in public spaces and people should have access to it only in libraries, studying it with a pen and sheet of paper in their hands. As the writer is laying bare his soul by writing his poems on paper, as a gift to the reader, which the receiver will not decode it properly on a laptop’s screen.
         The artist has well calculated the impact of his modern piece of virtuosity, freeing it from normative limits or conceptualizing boundaries. He is rapidly shifting in his poems from Classicism to Information Art, from Modernism to Postmodernism, as through a click on the laptop’s mouse. The poet creates his work of art as a reflection of the artist. His masterpiece is his identity card, his credentials which he takes before his readership looking ahead into the future vistas of art history. In one of her articles, Maria-Ana Tupan calls him a “cyber-poet” (Tupan 2014: web), although the poet subscribes to cyber literature in point of channels of communication rather than through a repertoire of specific themes.
         Every individual is self-centred in the world of computers, creating an image for himself: Personal Homepages, Facebook or Twitter profiles. All these profiles are attempts to construct an identity. We constantly check our social media profile, by simply observing photos, watching funny videos or keeping in touch with friends. But there is more to social media and Internet connection than these superficial aspects. They can be used to advertise and promote art. An artist can upload his work of art on his personal site or blog. In 2009, Ionuţ Caragea created his own site: www.ionutcaragea.ro, as a way of promoting his work and keeping in touch with his readers. There he posts everything, from personal newspapers articles to literary books and interviews. The site has gathered so far more than 52, 000 viewers, his works of art being acknowledged and known world wide. The number of his viewers is proof of the fact that the gap between the art system and that of mass culture has vanished, as the difference between limited distribution and mass distribution has been removed leading to the distribution of art world wide. He also has a Facebook profile and a Youtube personal channel, linking up with the virtual world of the Internet.
         The viewers may read his posts and add comments, creating thus a virtual reading club. They can interact both with the poet and with one another. Viewers are invited in this way to create, to post literature, becoming artists themselves.  They become active consumers of Internet, using it to educational and artistic purposes. By obliging viewers to authenticity and creativity, the internet becomes a medium which gains aesthetic value.
         The writer posted multimedia documents on his Youtube channel, combining successfully graphics with photography, poetry and music, enthralling the reader. An example in this respect can be one of his Youtube uploads:
Figure 1 (Dragostea nu are nevoie de cuvinte, însă..[2], Caragea 2013:

         In an interview with Ionuţ Caragea I have watched on Youtube, he stresses the importance of education in school, as it is the perfect place in which the minds can gain aesthetic lust, as creativity has a major role in our developing. He considers that creativity is an important quality which may be used not only in the process of art making, but also in a future career and human interrelations. It has the power to differentiate people among themselves (T.V. Interview 2015: web: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jimHyKPIe48&t=231s).
         The taste for creativity can blossom from early ages, beginning with the kindergarten period. Parents and educators can organize activities for kids, which imply drawing, singing or sculpting, always from the starting point of the power of the personal example, because youngster tend to imitate first what they see and hear. By offering examples, then by practicing and studying about a field of interest, imagination is developed and aesthetic values are thus created. With constant lecturing, new ideas appear, the individual being able to create something personal, unique, that may persist over history.
         Every individual is different, and by implementing aesthetic values from early ages, a child may grow with the desire to create something else, to aspire to authenticity. Imagination resides in every one of us, regardless the age. Teachers must be aware that the process of polishing it should not stop in the lower-secondary classes, as this quality is an important trump, which is necessary independent the age or profession.
         In the Internet Era, most of the people become passive receivers of information. Everybody nowadays have a smartphone or a laptop with internet connection. They look at images on social media, play games or maybe watch a movie or listen to music. People turn themselves into passive viewers, without filtering information through their thinking process and knowledge. That is why individuality is lost, as people think and feel less. Statistics made by authorized institutions show an annually increase of daily usage of social media worldwide.
“As of 2017, daily social media usage of global internet users amounted to 135 minutes per day, up from 126 daily minutes in the previous year” (Statista 2017: web). I especially find this statistic more useful than others because it is made after they applied an online survey worldwide, on people from 16 to 64 years old, between the years 2012-2017, in contrast with other statistics which focused mainly on America, as it is the realm of mass media, which sets trends. It shows that:
Global social networking audiences surpassed 2 billion users in 2016. The most popular social network worldwide is Facebook; with 1.86 billion monthly active users by the end of 2016. Other popular social networks include WeChat, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and Sina Weibo. Some mobile messaging apps such as LINE or Kakaotalk have transformed into social platforms by including profile timelines and games reminiscent of traditional social networks. Currently, the global average social network penetration rate was 37 percent. North and South America ranked first and second in this category at 66 and 59 percent respectively. In total, 21 percent of U.S. online time was spent on social media content. One of the most popular online activities, social networking, is becoming predominantly mobile. December 2016 data reveals that in the United States, 60 percent of social media time was spent via smartphone app. As of the fourth quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.15 billion mobile-only active users worldwide. Social media has made its innovators rich – as of March 2017, Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg had a net worth of 56 billion U.S. dollars. Other successful social media entrepreneurs included other Facebook founders and early investors. With 27.6 billion U.S. dollars in revenue in 2016, Facebook is also the social network with the biggest annual revenue.
(Statista 2017: web)


         Immediately after viewing this alarming numbers and information about social media which are indeed true, as whenever we go to work or at the market we observe more than 50% of the people are looking down in their phones checking their Facebook profile, I was curious to find out what other activities people do on their mobile phones.
         Another survey, this time made only on the United States of America, answers perfectly my wonderings. It shows that the time spent on smartphones is increasing year after year, becoming the most popular gadget. In contrast with the past, when people seek entertainment and relaxation by watching T.V., listening to the radio or just by using the photograph camera, by the year 2017 the smartphone manages to encapsulate all this gadgets in one. The survey shows that people spend almost 5 hours per day using their mobile phones:  “Five hours per day is a 20 percent increase compared with the fourth quarter of 2015, and seems to come at the expense of mobile browser usage, which has dropped significantly over the years” (Perez 2017: web). Being aware of this increase of usage of smartphones, technology companies created special phone applications, which facilitate consumer’s everyday life. They created thousands of apps which satisfy all needs, from the one for fashion, to car navigation, social media, games or even online dating. As this system of applications evolved so much, people use less internet browsing.



Figure 2 (US Daily Mobile Time Spent, Perez 2017: web)
         From the statistic made by the Flurry Company, we notice how the time spent online increases from 158 minutes in 2013 to 300 minutes in 2016, and how the usage of the Internet browser decreases from 20% to 8%. This may happen because people got so passive and commodified that they prefer the ready made information, much quicker to find by just clicking an application, than even writing entire phrases on a browser.
         It is much easier to get the ready-made news than searching on Google the information. I myself am a victim of passiveness, but it is just now that I realize it, after studying the issue. At the beginning of 2017 I downloaded on my phone Bizyday, a news application which informs me automatically about important issues worldwide. From that moment one my search habits about news on Google browser decreased, as I felt more comfortable reading the ready-made information which popped-up on my mobile screen. This limited my imagination and individuality, as I satisfied my curiosity only with certain type of superficial information. When searching on a browser about different aspects, an individual exercises better his knowledge, filtering the information given more attentively as he did an effort to look it up, the message being much easier decoded.
         Also, Flurry too made a statistic from which we learn about people’s application preferences and how they spend their 5 hours on the mobile, as we can see in figure number 2.
With the increased time users spend in apps, the advertising landscape is being affected, too. Apps can now attract TV ad dollars — and they’re even going after TV subscribers thanks to new services like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, YouTube TV and others. Flurry says it believes these entries will have an impact on time spent in the days ahead, and will “siphon even more minutes from TV.”
         (Perez 2017: web)


         As we observe, education, reading online books, writing articles are not included but, hopefully, we may assume that these activities are hidden in the 8% browser or the other 8% with “other” activities. The figure demonstrates the superficiality and emptiness in which we live.


Figure 3 (US Time Spent by App Category, Perez 2017: web)
         It is hard to develop the imagination in these five hours in the ways mentioned above. In an interview given for a certain TV channel, Ionuţ Caragea advices the audience to think beyond small talk and surfaces and not to obey society’s trends unconditionally. He is not against the use of the Internet, as it provides expediency to our lives and is a major source of information. He advices us to use it wisely and actively, to our own benefit, to develop our skills, information, imagination and creativity, not for the profit of technology or of companies. He believes that humanity’s salvation from the grip of consumerism lies within education and imagination which can only be improved by reading. Books, both in print and in electronic form, are the medicine to treat our phones, applications or social media addictions. Time is limited and we should use it wisely, to our benefit.
         People who read are harder to manipulate, because this is how the consumer society in which we live creates addictions. By manipulation, people are absorbed into the hyperreality of the consumerist society.
         Ionuţ Caragea advises people to stop being passive consumers of the Internet, watching images, and to start creating and using their imagination with the help of the Internet.
         He thinks that technology is against humanity, as people sink deeper and deeper into the illusions of prosperity in the material world (T.V. Interview 2015: web). The process of thinking is limited by technology. That is why people should leave their options open. It should be a matter of choice, people should be free to choose what it is that makes them happy: a book, painting, listening to music, family, love, personal beliefs, religious values, and so on. By the constant exposure to social media, TV or movies, people do not have time to think for themselves. Instead, people should realize that they are confronted with a serious problem, and create a strict personal schedule, in which they include diverse activities, cutting off the time uselessly spent on mobile phones. A way of healing and purifying ourselves from the addictions of the mechanical and oversaturated media society in which we live will take us to aesthetics, art, imagination and authenticity.
         Studies suggest that lack of communication on social media may make people feel excluded and invisible: “Social media shunning can even lead to lower-esteem and a sense of loss of control” (Kirkova 2014: web). In order to prevent regular users of social media from entertaining such negative feelings they may be encouraged to remain active, but from another perspective, a more educational one. 
         School and the education system may succeed in doing this. We may start from the example of the multimedia document. Kids nowadays read less indeed, but are keen on technology and computers. In my teacher experience I have noticed that children enjoy reading or watching science fiction books or movies such as Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Matrix, Avatar, and so on. We, as educators, should teach them how to use their abilities and imagination in creating a multimedia document which can combine a summary or text quotes with images, videos, music. They can create even their own articles or poems in the form of a multimedia document and post them on their profiles.
         This piece of multimedia document would be a product of their originality. It can be posted on their homepages, sites or social media profiles, inspiring others to do the same. It is an attractive way to embrace reading while using modern technology. After viewing the product on social networks, others can create their own multimedia document, interact and share opinions about their original document with other kids. Children and teachers can design their school magazine using all the information which children have created for their own purposes. In this way, they could wisely employ their time spent on the internet, giving to the new media aesthetics value and quality. Their aesthetic taste would also develop, as kids are guided how to distinguish a masterpiece from kitsch.
         An informed and well educated person will be harder to seduce by the consumerist society. An individual who has strong aesthetic boundaries set from the early stages of life will develop a strong identity based on appreciation of art, authenticity and originality. With a healthy set of values and a well-defined identity through reification of creative drives, individuals will be less temped to jump into the trap of hyperreality and of the illusions sold in the malls of the materialistic world.
         The attempt to correct the modernists’ aloofness from the historical world and excessive egocentrism or formalism has driven postmodernity to the other extreme of cultural populism. Actually this is the title of a book published by Jim McGuigan in 1992, which shows that the cult of the proletariat was far from being an exclusive practice of the former communist countries. The topic of culture is politicized, the author intimating the exertion of public opprobrium against those who dare declare their allegiance to the elites, to meritocracy or high culture:
An elementary deconstruction of the uses of ‘populism’ would identify its binary opposite, which is, of course, ‘elitism’. Nobody, well hardly anyone nowadays, is a self-confessed ‘elitist’. Being thought an ‘elitist’ is just as bad as being a ‘populist’, if not worse. Both ‘populist’ and ‘elitist’ are, in effect, terms of abuse, used by intellectuals, whether formally engaged in politics or not, who may be deliberately vague about where they themselves stand. In this book the term ‘elitist’ is used occasionally as convenient shorthand for ideological positions that are disrespectful of ordinary people’s tastes, whilst also recognising, however, that ‘elitist’ itself erases important differences and nuances of intellectual standpoint when applied too casually.
(McGuigan 1992: 2)
         At the other pole, there is Matthew Arnold’s injunction to the study of whatever was best thought and read in the world along time, or W. H. Pater’s praise of the new Cyrenaicism at the end of the nineteenth century, which was replacing the vulgar carpe diem of libidinal hedonism with a refined enjoyment of intense emotions aroused by the reading of wise and well-written philosophy, by the contemplation of works of art, etc. The automatic association of low art with people in low life is what sounds disturbing to the genuinely egalitarian spirit, and that is exactly McGuigan’s error. Nor do we agree with Pierre Bourdieu’s theory of the identification of people on the outer fringes with pop culture. This is a kind of determinism that errs on the side of a metaphysical explanation of phenomena which collapses when confronted with some common people’s intense desire to ascend to a higher level of civilization, which also includes refined consumption taste in point of culture as well.
         It is the school’s priority, given the intellectual decay of the age, to reestablish the connection between superior forms of art and common humanity as it existed in ancient Greece when the whole of Athens gathered on the Acropolis to watch the staging of their well-known mythology.  The new forum in the net can harbour an even bigger audience with the extra advantage of interaction, offered the codes for meaningful communication, which are provided through schooling and the media.




Caragea, I., (2007), M-am născut pe Google, Iaşi:  Editura Stef.
Quaranta, D., (2013), Media, New Media, Postmedia, Italy: Postmedia Books.
McGuigan, J. (1992). Cultural populism. London and New York: Routledge.
Web Sources
Caragea, I., (2013), Dragostea nu are nevoie de cuvinte, însă.... Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LV-OU1bReyw.
Dreher, T., (2013), History of Computer Art. Retrieved from: http://iasl.uni-muenchen.de/links/GCA_Indexe.html.
Kirkova, D., (2014), The Facebook Generation: How not posting on Social Media for just Two Days Affects our Self-Esteem. Retrieved from: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2624112/The-Facebook-generation-How-not-posting-social-media-just-TWO-days-affect-self-esteem.html#ixzz4gwdh3HKc.
Manovich, L., (2001), Post-Media Aesthetics. Retrieved from:
http://manovich.net/content/04-projects/032-post-media aesthetics/29_article_2001.pdf.
Perez, S., (2017), U.S. consumers now spend 5 hours per day on mobile devices. Retrieved from: https://techcrunch.com/2017/03/03/u-s-consumers-now-spend-5-hours-per-day-on-mobile-devices/.
Tupan, M.A., (2014), El Desdichado, Revista Contemporanul, Nr. 07/Iulie 2014. Retrieved from: http://www.contemporanul.ro/contexte/el-desdichado.html.
T.V. Interview with Ionuţ Caragea, (2015), Rolul Creativităţii în dezvoltarea umană, Recrutat în Crişana TV show. Retrieved from:
Statista, (2017), Daily time spent on social networking by internet users worldwide from 2012 to 2017 (in minutes). Retrieved from:


         As we have understood from the aesthetic emancipation schemata of mass culture presented in this part of the PhD thesis, consumerism in here to stay. It can be traced from the 18th century, and we can say that in 2018 it is still at its highest peek, and it has been there since the beginning of 21st century.
         Baudelaire skilfully used its primitive methods in an aesthetic manner, Petrescu and Waugh used it in order to criticize and mock people way of behaving, Gaiman underlined the negative effects it has on this generation of children or on culture, as landmarks pieces of literature are being rewritten and copied. Caragea, on the contrary, does not limit his work only to criticize it, but puts it in a different light, as he tries to offer a solution.
         As it is said that it is advisable to keep your friends close and your enemies even closer, it is important for us to acknowledge the fact that consumerism is a huge problem for society and to understand that there is no way out of it. We should stop criticizing it, as victims who indeed we are, and try to analyze it, decode it and use it in our own benefit, in order to refine our tastes and educate our beings. In this way, its effects on us will be limited, people regaining control on their lives and over their blurred identities.
         The “Who am I?” quest of all modernists is updated into “I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?” (Gaiman 2002: web).
         The world of images grew a lot in importance, succeeding in reshaping, as we could see in the previous works of literature analyzed above, architecture and style, cloth industry, mediating due to its force meaning, pleasure, beliefs and values. This superficial world determined consumption, because through images the reader is seduced. The uniqueness and identity of a city’s architectural style has been changed into a mythical space, full of violence and vices, which anticipate doomsday and life’s resemblance to a hospital, as Caragea and Baudelaire beautifully remarked in the poem analyzed above. The change is here to stay and we must learn how to cope with it and how to educate ourselves and our children so that its negative effects will not alter their values, beliefs, identities and taste for imagination and uniqueness. Only in this way art will keep its aesthetic aura, not being confused by people to mass culture.
         In the present moment, neither the artist nor his work of art matter the most, as now the stress lays on the receiver, the user, each and every one of us. In an era contaminated by computers and technology, an individual’s respect for true values will guide him, helping him to avoid becoming a passive consumer who may easily fell into the trap called consumerist comfort of hyperreality, and illusions of a better world.
Web Sources
Gaiman, N., (2002). Coraline. Retrieved from:

and if the server fails, will I be a poet anymore?
and if the Internet suddenly disconnects all over the world
who will hear about me again?

I would love a law to be given
to ban poetry in public places
and go to specially designated places
with a pencil and a sheet of paper
and write only for yourself
as if your poetry
would be an engagement ring
or a promise of love

I hurt my soul on the paper
in a pile of words
you call it a cliché
waste or just simply a small talk

while poetry is a pedestrian crossing
between life and death

or a wild boar hunted by an arrow
in a virgin forest

what I am writing is not a simple job
but a dedication to God
which sometimes puts His palm
on your forehead

even if life resembles to a hospital
where people treat you
with boredom pills
while death is inventing souls

if the internet disconnects
I would walk on my bare feet through the dust
to feel the cold body of my forebears
or I would cut off all my hair
so that no one can figure out
how beautiful it snows

I would give up this speech
and I would hit you there
it hurts you the most
to  show you
how much I love you

I was born on Google
everybody knows
and I am looking, I am still looking
for the place
in which
I can confess
[2]  Love does not need Words, but...

Sursa articolului:
Articolul face parte din lucrarea de doctorat din anul 2018 a Andreei C. Petrache:
"The Effects of Consumerism on Society and Fiction",
susţinută la Școala Doctorală a Universității "1 Decembrie 1918" din Alba Iulia.