Let’s Get Physical? Post-Digital Discourse and Artistic Practices

Nadine Roestenburg | University of Amsterdam | Let’s Get Physical? Post-Digital Discourse and Artistic Practices | Supervisors: Ellen Rutten, Katja Kwastek | 2017-2021

This project analyses discourses about post-digital art, and artistic practices that reflect on how the internet is reshaping the relationship between the physical and digital. While Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are working towards an all connected world in an always-connected digital future; post-digital society boasts a focus on the offline, the analogue, the physical, and material as a reaction to the all-pervading intrusion of the digital and its networks in our lives (Tegenlicht, 2016; Jurgenson; 2012).

Practices that explore the complex relationship between the digital and the physical, or emphasize the physical, are also prominent in contemporary art framed in terms of postdigital, post-internet, and New Aesthetics1 (Cramer, 2014; McHugh, 2011; Vierkant, 2010; Olson, 2012; Bridle, 2011). These and related terms have swiftly gained critical mass in the ongoing attempt “to grapple with the immersive and disorientating experiences of computational infrastructures as they scale up and intensify” (Berry & Dieter, 2015:4).

In existing studies about the post-digital, there has been almost no extensive analysis of individual works of art; while in case of exhibitions there has been little discussion of theory (Koterbay & Mirocha, 2016). By contrast, this project studies both discourses about postdigital art, and analyses its visual language, used strategies, technologies and aesthetics that have tangibly invaded artistic practices and everyday life. In doing so, this project will obtain different perspectives on the impact of increasingly complex and invisible digital technologies on post-digital realities.