Reposted from The Scavenger.
What is digimodernism?
What is this digimodernism? Put simply, it is the impact of computerization on all forms of art, culture and textuality. It is also the dominant cultural force field of the 21st century, the successor to a postmodernism which reigned supreme throughout the 1980s and 1990s but is now widely felt to have had its day.
The cultural landscape, it can be argued, is skewed at all times by the gravitational pull of certain ideas, themes, tendencies or individuals. I believe that the prevailing cultural fact of our time, one which is gradually bending everything into its orbit as well as throwing up phenomena made in its own image, is digitization. It has revolutionized traditional arts, invented new cultural relationships, and slowly engulfed the textual world we live in.
Unlike its predecessor, though, digimodernism is not primarily a given aesthetic content or set of techniques or concerns which artists are invited to adopt should they wish to be “contemporary” or “cutting edge”. It operates at a deeper, more fundamental level than that.
In its purest instances it is a revolution in the nature of the text itself, seen vividly in the platforms of Web 2.0 (blogs, chat rooms, message boards, Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter etc.). Such a textuality is onward, haphazard, evanescent, and fluid-bounded: it exists in its own current expansion or elaboration; its content is up for grabs, though surreptitiously patrolled; it does not last and is not reproducible in its original form; and its temporal and spatial boundaries are, though perceptible, very hard to fix. If the diary and encyclopaedia are supplanted by Web 2.0, the letter and the map have given way to email, text messages, atnav, and Google Maps and their ilk.
The digimodernist hypothesis is that computerization has restructured or will restructure every form of textuality we know. It is not limited to online network culture.
According to Kirby, the main ideas of digimodernism are:
- In late 90’s and early 2000’s new technologies permanently altered the relationship between authors, texts, and readers, succeeding postmodernism as the primary cultural milieu.
- Because of new media, audiences now have unprecedented ability to alter the content of texts, reducing the role of the traditional single author and making texts unstable and ephemeral.
- Digimodernists texts are characterized by “onwardness, haphazardness, evanescence, and anonymous, social and multiple authorship.”
- Prime examples of digimodernist texts include the internet as a whole, blogs, reality television shows like American Idol where viewers decide the narrative progression, news programs that rely on viewer-submitted comments, etc.
- Replacing the uncertainty or self conscious irony of postmodernism, the typical emotional state of digimodernism is the trance, being completely absorbed in and becoming the text.