Annie Dorsen discusses the concept of the digital sublime and how it informed the creation of her work The Great Outdoors (2017). The Internet, in its scale and scope, and information itself has become a sublime landscape for contemplation, albeit more of a “stuplimity,” as Sianne Ngai has termed it, a sublime stupidity rather than a Romantic one. Historicizing the sublime from its origins in Longinus through Kant to the present day, Dorsen argues that the sublime is an aesthetic of technocratic collapse, and a response to the limitations of rational understanding in the face of overwhelming irrationality. She concludes by meditating on the potential power of the digital sublime in art to resist contemporary forms of stuplimity, especially in politics, that threaten to psychic health, public discourse, and civilization at large.

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