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The Image Object Post-Internet

by Artie Vierkant

By Ceci Moss

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This PDF is to serve as an extended statement of artistic purpose and critique of our contemporary relation to objects and images in Post-Internet culture. More than anything, it poses a survey of contemplations and open questions on contemporary art and culture after the Internet.

“Post-Internet Art” is a term coined by artist Marisa Olson and developed further by writer Gene McHugh in the critical blog “Post Internet” during its activity between December 2009 and September 2010. Under McHugh's definition it concerns “art responding to [a condition] described as 'Post Internet'-when the Internet is less a novelty and more a banality. Perhaps ... closer to what Guthrie Lonergan described as 'Internet Aware'-or when the photo of the art object is more widely dispersed [&] viewed than the object itself.” There are also several references to the idea of “post-net culture” in the writings of Lev Manovich as early as 2001.

Specifically within the context of this PDF, Post-Internet is defined as a result of the contemporary moment: inherently informed by ubiquitous authorship, the development of attention as currency, the collapse of physical space in networked culture, and the infinite reproducibility and mutability of digital materials.

Post-Internet also serves as an important semantic distinction from the two historical artistic modes with which it is most often associated: New Media Art and Conceptualism.

New Media is here denounced as a mode too narrowly focused on the specific workings of novel technologies, rather than a sincere exploration of cultural shifts in which that technology plays only a small role. It can therefore be seen as relying too heavily on the specific materiality of its media. Conceptualism (in theory if not practice) presumes a lack of attention to the physical substrate in favor of the methods of disseminating the artwork as idea, image, context, or instruction.

Post-Internet art instead exists somewhere between these two poles. Post-Internet objects and images are developed with concern to their particular materiality as well as their vast variety of methods of presentation and dissemination.

It is important to also note that “being Post-Internet” is a distinction which carries ramifications beyond the art context as a societal condition at large, and that it would be antithetical to attempt to pinpoint any discrete moment at which the Post-Internet period begins. Any cultural production which has been influenced by a network ideology falls under the rubric of Post-Internet. The term is therefore not discretely tied to a certain event, though it could be argued that the bulk of the cultural shifts described herein come with the introduction of privately-run commercial Internet service providers and the availability of personal computers.

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Michael Manning 4 years, 11 months agoReply

Re: Post-Internet


Clay Shirky discusses the idea of a post-internet consciousness (and society) in a lecture at Harvard he gave in 2008. The most relevant section is around 10 minutes when he (similarly yet pre-Gene McHugh) explains "that curiously it is the moment at which technology becomes boring that the social effects become interesting" he completes this thought with a nice story about how his parents met and its relation to the internal combustion engine as an analogy to how the internet is no longer 'new' and is now part of our cultural lexicon.

sterling crispin 4 years, 11 months agoReply

The internet is no longer new , but that hardly allows one to call the current moment in time "post internet"

the term "post internet" is a total contradiction to me, although the concepts discussed may not be, 30% of the world is on the web and climbing, and the web itself is rapidly expanding in functionality, this is the dawn of the internet not the aftermath

" In the Post-Internet climate, it is assumed that the work of art lies equally in the version of the object one would encounter at a gallery or museum, the images and other representations disseminated through the Internet and print publications, bootleg images of the object or its representations, and variations on any of these as edited and recontextualized by any other author……. For objects after the Internet there can be no “original copy" "

This is more in reference to "Web 2.0 VS Web 1.0" which is largely an expansion of the functionality of the Internet. We are not in a time "after the internet" we introduced streaming video and hyper socialized media. If anything this is "Neo-Internet" not "Post-Internet"

How is it in any way useful to talk about objects "after the internet' we are not in a time "after the internet" WW3 has not hit, society as we know it has not collapsed , we are not digging in the mud rooting for grubs

Can we please all just agree to stop putting "post" before things unless you actually are referring to the meaning of the prefix "post"

Until you can directly access the internet via your mind, or the bomb goes off, we are not in a postinternet state, you're really talking about the new-internet, not the time after the internet

"Post internet" makes me think of "hipsters" planting vegetables in their backyard, weaving cozies for bicycle racks and desperately trying to be hyper-local in some attempt to deny the effects of globalization all the while sucking at the teet of smartphones and blogging about the kombucha they just made

sterling crispin 4 years, 11 months agoReply

its analogous to saying that you're occupying a "post-oceanic" space because you paddled yourself out past the surf , until you hit dry land again, you're still in the ocean, regardless of where you think the boundary between the surf and the ocean is

Jim Andrews 4 years, 11 months agoReply

What sort of art do we see on the Internet itself, such as on Rhizome, these days? Documentation *about* art that happens in New York or wherever. Not the art itself. The art itself we see these days on Rhizome is just more video, for the most part. The Rhizome site is barely worth looking at these days. That's a pity.

M. Leaf-Tierney 4 years, 11 months agoReply

uploading is a choice

nightfallsnet 4 years, 11 months agoReply

This is interesting.. But only effective for those who are so blindly invested in internet art culture.. There may be "post internet" for those ppl - who's art would suffer in the physical world. Hopefully what you speak of comes sooner than l8tr, ending this childish period of self-referential art making - for others like myself there is only pre-internet and post-matrix; consuming all nodes of existance in a world that is not based on single experiences or ironic manifestations of popular culture.

Tags: social media video appropriation sculpture circulation research surfing community conceptual

Neal Stephenson 4 years, 11 months agoReply

Hey kids, dont listen to your friends who try to tell you that its all about bits and bytes. Information technology will only get you so far. Making things in the physical world is where its at. Learn to weld.