Skip navigation

It has truly been a long winding journey in MCM0230. Revisiting the past readings from our last reading Florian Cramer’s “What is ‘Post-Digital”, I can’t help but feel like we’ve gone full circle. We were given the apocalyptic world of Chiba City, Japan – a physical composition of what we can define the ambiguous ‘post-digital’. Everything in this city represents one angle of the ‘digital’, the flux and conundrum of the ‘post’. Likewise to what Cramer said, “‘digital’ information never exists in a perfect form, but is instead an idealised abstraction of physical matter which…has chaotic properties and often ambiguous states.” (Pg.705) That it is not a single entity, but a phenomenon that allows such states to be formed under countable units – a qualitative measure almost.

“Digital technology is no longer new media” (Pg. 700)

Technological advancements have fully assimilated into the 21st century, and thus we can call ourselves the first generation to really take advantage of the ambiguousness and ‘creepiness’ on a global scale.  Yet we cannot forget the past, the beginning of Web 1.0 unto Web 2.0. We are slowly losing the people that forged us onto the path of the ‘digital’. It is easy to forget just where all this came from, how I am sitting here typing up this blog post. The fact that this computer can translate my typing on the keyboard onto this visual computer screen, and that I could publish onto ‘BrownBlogs’ with the click of a button; without the recognition of development of digital technology I would just be oblivious to my surroundings. If there was no ‘old’, there wouldn’t have been a ‘new’.

To an extent, we can compare this to the history of our previous generation. The remaining Holocaust survivors are far and few, and as years go by; we are vulnerable to the the realities of time. Sooner than later, our future generations will not be able to experience our present and presence of the forefathers. Our present becomes the past, and the past therefore becomes history that will forever be in our memories and in museums; but not in front of our very own eyes.

“To endow the powerful feelings associated with nostalgia to our lives in the present” (Pg. 707) Is that what digital media is here for? Cramer noted that such devices are in fact ‘analog-to-digital-to-analog converters’, that our “sense can perceive information only in the form of non-discrete signals such as sound or light waves”. We use our senses to feel, to smell, to touch, to hear, to see – all these are still analog responses that are bounded by our human limitations. It is definable, it is known, it is evident.

However, as we come to a close on this day and age – we see a gradual change in where we stand. We are now where Cramer calls “the state of affairs after the initial upheaval caused by the computerisation and global digital networking of communication, technical infrastructures, markets and geopolitics.” (Pg. 703) We are concurrently at the crossroads of ‘post-digital’ and becoming the ‘neo-digital’ – that our eyes can not only observe the continuum of a spectrum, but each individual single pixel as given by our ‘computerisation’.

We still have the “illusion of increased control over the medium”. (Pg. 710) We have a choice on which type of photography to best portray the artists’ vision – be it digital or film. Musicians can decide whether to encode their music onto vinyls or on MP3 digital files. Filmmakers went from SD to HD to the state-of-the art 4k HD cameras that portray ultra-resolute imagery that the human eye fails to observe such detail. In short, we are still tied in with the nostalgic past to our present, our today, our real. If we were to severe such ties, then what happens after? We are still governed by the system in which we live by, that neither “‘digital’ nor ‘post-digital’…is able to leave behind, or even adequately describe.” (Pg. 710)

So I must ask: What if there is no longer such a ‘System’?