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Additional info for Aesthetics and Hyper aesthetics. Rethinking the Senses in Contemporary Media Contexts

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I A new and urgent need for stimuli? Rhetorics of intensity have thoroughly pervaded the world of work. Just keeping up (allegedly) requires a level of intensity that is markedly different from that of a generation ago.  44 At this particular moment, discourses of intensification forecast and actively construct the transformation of experience across many aspects of contemporary life, casting such change as the ‘inevitable’ result of technological developments. Whilst the focus on the ensuing stress and intensity is not exclusively centred on the realm of paid employment, work often seems to function as a lightning rod for anxiety.

It is clear from this slogan, and its context, that immediacy and intense experience are important aspects in the company’s attempt to break into the cola market. Jolt’s treatment of intensification is also revealing.  45 Jolt Cola adopts both of these meanings of intensity, putting the latter in service to the former. The company’s approach is an attempt to represent that which is experientially distinct for current (technologically literate) generations, however, the treatment of hyperstimulation and intensity is marked by a calculative, instrumental approach to extracting the maximum.

The Jolt Cola advertisement locates its product squarely within these discourses, and so demonstrates the concern with ends (Figure 1). Using the themes in this advertisement as a springboard, I will consider the particular spin that is given to intensity and hyperstimulation in work settings, arguing that rather than the discourses of intensification producing anything new, their articulation in the Jolt Cola advertisement instead represents the intensification of already existing instrumental conceptions of, and relations to, technology.

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Aesthetics and Hyper aesthetics. Rethinking the Senses in Contemporary Media Contexts by Melanie Swalwell


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