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What's Postinternet Got to do with Net Art?


While I appreciate the attempt to find something true and interesting in the postinternet debates and some hope among its supposed practitioners, it has become an increasingly difficult proposition when faced with the realities outlined in the very pieces cited in this article (Mute and 24/7).

"Now there are numerous pressures for individuals to reimagine and refigure themselves as being of the same consistency and values as the dematerialized commodities and social connections in which they are immersed so extensively." (Crary, 99)

Full-immersion and brand ubiquity represent the triumph of neoliberal capitalism over artistic autonomy - the author claims as much. But collectivism should not be confused with ubiquitous authorship. The Web 2.0 free-market has only flourished under such generous neologisms.

If the postinternet eludes a critical position it may be that its youthful practitioners are too immersed in the ostensible object of critique. Fish can't see water.

Under the unsparing weight of neoliberalism, debt, and privatization, an increased level of autonomy should be demanded by individual artists, not eradicated. The internet may hold some promise for future collective practices but it is also the horizon of market accumulation, manufactured desires, and forced obsolescence. The postinternet is now, admittedly, becoming outmoded. It will be superseded by another neologism, possibly from the hive mind of post-Millenials, which will have all of us, regardless of age, struggling to not be an old.