This essay superimposes technical definitions of data compression onto philosophical discussions of aesthetics. Two basic approaches are addressed: abstract compression and generic compression. The first, outlined well in the work of Bernard Stiegler, concerns the classic phenomenological and metaphysical debates around expression, revealing, representation, mimesis, and the “extensions of man.” The second, rather ill-defined thus far, deals with a different set of concerns: encryption, obliteration, unilateral determination, irreversibility, and generic humanity. With the theme of compression in hand, this essay offers an alternative reading of Stiegler's aesthetic theory on the grounds that it is not yet compressive enough.

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