Aesthetic Radicalism and the Counterculture

October 26th, 2015 by bruno boutot
Theodore Roszak invented and popularized the term counterculture to distinguish it from the notion of a subculture—signaling the sweeping oppositional nature of the movement that existed against, not merely as a subset of, the existing culture. #

That plenitude was not universal and that freedom was an experience enjoyed by a privileged majority did not go unnoticed by a younger generation. Accordingly, any revolution would come not from the working class realizing its alienation from its own labor, but rather from a new youth movement that resists its inculcation into such a system in the first place and joins together with the dispossessed already operating outside of it. #

In their struggle to create a new social, cultural, political, and ecological utopia, the counterculture expressed its political activism and activated its cultural radicalism in new and imaginative ways. By doing so, it created a new sensibility or aesthetic in the broadest sense. It is this sensibility that I’ve defined as a hippie modernism—an aesthetics of refusal—one that rejects the given parameters of a practice, obviates the boundaries of a defined field, or alters the course of an instrumental technology. #


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