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The New “Depthiness”

Editors’ Note:

In the light of the intertextuality between Alessandro Baricco and Fredric Jameson, Timotheus Vermeulen, the writer of “The New ‘Depthiness’”—originally published in e-flux Journal in January 2015—sets up a metaphorical trio to concretize the notion of depthiness: the diver is a person who reads; the surfer who browses the internet; and the snorkeler who imagines depth without experiencing it; for Vermeulen, the last represents a new and unfolding artistic modality.

“The New ‘Depthiness’” ​intends to provide a better understanding towards the phenomenon of superficiality, which, in Jameson’s words, has been the “supreme formal feature” of culture since the late twentieth century. The essay also invites us to reflect how to adeptly navigate through the spectrum of the depth, depthlessness, and depthiness.

This is part of e-flux in Chinese Column, a collaboration between Heichi Magazine and e-flux journal, with curator and writer Xiaoyu Weng as the column’s guest-editor.

The New “Depthiness” from e-flux journal #61—January 2015, read the original article here. Click here to read the essay in Chinese. ​Translated by Xiaoxuan Song, co-edited by Xiaoyu Weng and Qianfan Gu.

Xiaoxuan Song is a moving-image maker and a freelance writer. She graduated from Bard College and is currently studying at Berlin University of the Arts. Her current research interests mainly focus on the ontology of onomatopoeia extended by simulacra and its applications in simulated space.

Night paddle boarders illuminate the shoreline in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Photo: Julia Cumes.

Can the snorkeler serve as a metaphor for a modality of new artistic imagination?

A deep-sea scuba-diver explores the depths of the ocean at night.

Monika Stricker, Untitled, 2013. Installation view, Artist’s former studio, WIELS, Brussels. Courtesy: the artist.

Ane Mette Hol, installation view, Kadel Willborn, Düsseldorf, Germany, 2013.

Aleksandra Domanović, installation view, Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow International, 2014. Photo: Alan McAteer. Courtesy the Artist and Glasgow International.

Visualizations of data from 3D plotting technology take shape in the music video for Radiohead’s 2008 “House of Cards.”

Published: 2020.12.18