edited by Barbara Cueto, Bas Hendrikx – Authenticity?: Observations and Artistic Strategies in the Post-Digital Age


Valiz, ISBN-13: 978-9492095237, English, 208 pages, 2017, The Netherlands

“Authenticity?” is an anthology of texts challenging the concept of ‘original’ from some of the most engaging present discourses. As the editors remark “[…] in the post-digital context, […] authenticity becomes a process”, so we even “perform authenticity” probably more often then we think, and its own notion becomes a kind of on-demand service once we shift to digital. While advanced technologies like blockchain still hold a prominent position in the technical challenge to implement authenticity in digital environments in the future, understanding which kind of dynamics and social mechanisms are incorporated. The selected texts are confronting an already challenged concept as authenticity in its digital embodiments. Rob Horning, for example, explores the concept’s perception and exploitation in different systems of our society, while Erica Balsom is framing it in contemporary exhibitions, articulating her analysis from dOCUMENTA (13) to professional marketing strategies. McKenzie Wark instead discusses the importance of how copies, ‘authenticated’ by another medium (like television) can legitimate the original. Furthermore he stretches the argument to the derivative qualities of simulations and how they affects the art system, too. Finally Franco Bifo Berardi masterly delineates the ephemeral concept of identity, in relation to the too fast digital platforms, with some of the more striking political consequences. It’s the perfect last chapter to complete the book’s theoretical path, which unveils core aspects of contemporaneity.

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