'Post-digital, once understood as a critical reflection of “digital” aesthetic immaterialism, now describes the messy and paradoxical condition of art and media after digital technology revolutions. “Post-digital” neither recognizes the distinction between “old” and “new” media, nor ideological affirmation of the one or the other. It merges “old” and “new”, often applying network cultural experimentation to analog technologies which it re-investigates and re-uses.'
A Peer Reviewed Journal About Post-Digital Research
Why "post-"? The term "post-digital" partakes of a rhetoric of rupture, suggesting a break, a time after. But after what exactly? In an age when we need more engagement with history, not less, and when a profoundly ideological obsession with novelty and innovation is everywhere around us, does the very formulation of this term not mimic a logic we would do better to challenge? To not recognise the distinctions between "old" and "new" media is to wilfully blind oneself to the pernicious and accelerating logics of novelty and obsolescence that govern media technologies today – as well as the economic, ecological, and social costs that accompany them.
Living 'Post-Digital' could be understood as living in a preemptive moment. Where anticipated future behaviour affects the way things are acted out in the present. Predictive technology seeks to break down our understood structure of time, where one action is the consequence of of another in chronological sequence. In the preemptive moment algorithms are of greater influence on our decisions. Whether that be shopping on Amazon or the PreCrime style systems are being used to identify future crime hotspots before the crimes have even happen. To say no to these highly personalised and specific streams of data goes only to make them stronger. And in the increasing strength of these system the future begins to increasingly inform the present time.
Easily the hardest term to define. Turning to the OED (online version), I find the word was first cited in 1883 to designate a 'scent gland behind the digits of the forefoot in the Indian rhinoceros'. While pleased to learn this, I note that the usage is considered both obsolete and rare. Was the animal extinct? No, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (also online) it is vulnerable, with the last survey (in 2018) suggesting a global population of 2,200. All of which is demonstrative of digital logic (cf Seb Franklin, cited by Erika) and an affirmation that we're not, of course, post-digital, whilst at the same time recognising that, a) even if we were the Indian rhinoceros got there first and b) if there's going to be a post-anything in this definition then that, sadly, is also likely to be the Indian rhinoceros.