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The notion of post-digital is an intriguing one, and illustrates the artistic and social anxieties of my generation to define themselves in relation to the constant flow of technology that surrounds them. Florian Cramer discusses the dual meaning of this term “post-digital” and I believe both are relevant in a discussion of the current artistic and social relationships within the “digital age”, within new media. In one sense, post-digital may describe disillusionment with technology, perhaps because of its mass reproducibility (the internet memes Cramer describes for example) or its deterioration of privacy. One may have arrived at this conclusion themselves, or perhaps post-Snowden they joined many others in a newfound disappointment with these new technologies. This definition corresponds to the man in the park with the typewriter. The solution is to disconnect and go back to the old, safer, better way. Interestingly enough I find this phenomenon is rarely present in those who actually had to use typewriters. Both of my parents grew up with typewriters and would never trade in their new digital toys for the “frustrating and unforgiving” clacking of a typewriter, which they don’t seem to find nearly as romantic a sound as I do. I have to agree with Cramer in thinking that this desperate return is a bit naïve, and ultimately will not do anyone any good. Of course, artists are the exception to this rule and generally have reasons other than nostalgia for returning to older materials or methods. I was so excited this summer to try out a digital drawing tablet, but in about 10 minutes I was so frustrated with the minute delay between my stylus and the marks that I ended up drawing with pencil, scanning it in and only coloring it on the tablet. Digital technology is not known for giving its users physical control.

The second definition of post-digital is slightly different. Cramer uses the example of post-feminism as an example, post-feminism does not imply that feminism is over and something has come after it, but simply that this new movement is a continuation of feminism as well as a different movement in its own right. So post-digital could be looked at as an extension of the digital, a move towards a restructuring of our interactions and relationships with the digital, without abandoning it.

What I take away from this course is a mix of these two definitions. At once, I am disenchanted by new media, but at the same time in studying its history I cannot help but consider its future: a post-digital that is aware and “enlightened” to the mistakes and concerns of its past, without abandoning technology. I suppose the moral of the story is that even though new media is problematic and violent, hateful, oppressive and scary, it is also creative, indefinable, communicative, a tool for activists, an instrument of change, and infinitely the most interesting phenomenon being tackled in critical media theory.