THE QUESTION
Is there a Post-Internet revolution in the arts?

These days, there’s no tendency more frequently invoked as a topic of heated discussion than Post-Internet Art. The generation that grew up in the digital age has an “Internet state of mind.” They are concerned with the circulation and availability of images and information, new technologies and materials—but also with the defeat of capitalism and the consciousness of strawberries and bees. That may sound revolutionary. But is Post-Internet art really spearheading an aesthetic turning point?



Clemens Bach
Independent author and researcher, Berlin
Photo: Courtesy Clemens Bach

Clemens Bach

Theoretical or artistic proponents of the “Internet state of mind” must, if they want to be regarded as revolutionary or even avant-garde, at least attempt to address the issue of what criticism should entail. What, against what, why, and to what end should artistic practices exercise criticism? If these issues are dismissed as being irrelevant, passé, or, with a narrow-minded or ironic gesture, reactionary, then one needn’t think seriously about the revolutionary potential of the Post-Internet generation. For contemporary art that blindly blends content from commodity, art, everyday, and Internet culture and simply reproduces this aestheticized potpourri at established art institutions, behaves indifferently and thus unmistakably affirms the social status quo. And this is not a particularly good basis for being placed in the tradition of the revolutionary historical avant-garde.










Erica Baum
Artist, New York
Photo: Andrea Blanch











Erica Baum

To me, Post-Internet Art is a continuation of the constantly evolving technical resources that artists of every generation have always made use of by exploring and exploiting the possible. The Internet has rapidly accelerated our access to a certain kind of information; we can research anything and find myriad written data and a multitude of visual examples online within moments. We can create data and imagery and share it at once. There is a flattening of relevance. Someone who might have once fallen into obscurity can now speak across generations. In the virtual universe, we all exist simultaneously. Conversely, the proliferation of instant virtual imagery makes us appreciate the material even more. More artists’ books are produced now because the Internet cuts costs and makes DIY projects possible. Museum attendance is up. But while the speed of viewing and generating images and data has increased, the choices and the decisions still rest, as they always have, with readers and producers.




Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev
Director, Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Rivoli-Turin
and GAM Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin
Photo: Caglar Kanzik









Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev

First of all: We are living in the middle of the digital age. Obviously artists who grew up with the Internet are different. Ed Atkins’s work for example relates to the condition of subjectivity in the age of Internet communication. But he would never say he is a “Post-Internet Artist.” It is like talking about “Post-Airplane Art” when referring to Land Art, which arose with the experience of seeing the world from an airplane. Of course artists react to the technology of their times, sometimes they even invent the technology of their times—Chad Hurley, one of the YouTube inventors, studied arts. Joseph Beuys evolved in the age of mass communication. He developed the “social sculpture,” and therein he reacted to his time in a more cosmic way, more far from the information media and different to the way the Pop artists did. We have to look at things in a broader perspective. I would rather ask: Where
is the Joseph Beuys of our time?





DIS
Curatorial team of Berlin Biennale 2016
Photo: Sabine Reitmaier











DIS

The Internet has been an aesthetic turning point. As the most democratic medium currently available, it offers wide accessto image-based communication in multiple ways. As for ourselves, we aim to embrace blurriness, contradiction, and confusion both aesthetically and content-wise, in order to materialize the problems of the present where they occur, so as to make them a matter of agency, not spectatorship.








Peter Weibel
Executive Board, ZKM – Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe
Photo: ARTIS/Uli Deck



Peter Weibel

Today we are at the threshold of shifting from a languagebased to a tool-based culture. The equation of the Industrial Revolution, “machinery, materials, and men“ has been supplemented by the equation ”Media, Data, and Men.“ Things not only become words and images, but things, words, images, and sounds become data, and these data, in turn, can be transformed by digital technologies, 3D printers, and new materials into things, words, images, and sounds. Via interactive media art, the Post-Internet generation is transforming the withdrawal from the image into a new capacity to act in the data room.