The New Everyday
How the times have changed! A little, a lot, vastly, not at all? We shall see.
– Henri Lefebvre, Everyday Life in the Modern World, p. 7
From Fall 2012 through Winter 2014 I was editor of The New Everyday, a MediaCommons journal. I wrote the following “mission” statement:
The New Everyday investigates the mundane, the quotidian, the habitual, and the routine, focusing in particular on the roles that media and technology play in their construction. Building upon the work of pioneers in the field – Lefebvre and Michel de Certeau among them – we wonder about new formulations of the everyday in this age of seemingly universal digitization and mobilization. How have the times changed? As “new media” grow old and are upgraded with ever increasing rapidity, as our visions of the world and the stars are shaped via the “machine-visions” of a New Aesthetic, as our everyday temporalities are informed both by the predictive capabilities of “big data” and a growing consciousness of the “deep time” of humans’ impact on the planet, what distinguishes the everyday today? We must wonder, as Lefebvre does, if “what has changed” is “everyday life” itself, or “the art of representing it through metamorphosis, or both, and what the consequences are” (7).
The solution, he advocates,
[is] to attempt a philosophical inventory and analysis of everyday life that will expose its ambiguities – its baseness and exuberance, its poverty and fruitfulness – and by these unorthodox means release the creative energies that are an integral part of it (13).
The New Everyday aims to be a forum for these inventories and analyses. And it aims to infuse this investigation with “creative energies” by experimenting with the means and modalities of critical investigation. As we examine the mediated everyday, we’ll involve those same everyday media as tools in our examination. Do particular formats or genres of expression uniquely capture various dimensions of everyday experience, or do certain aspects of the everyday elude mediation? And as we think through the everyday, what modalities best support our own rhetorical and expressive goals?
[Illustration via Atelier Olschinsky]