David M. Berry and Michael Dieter – Postdigital Aesthetics: Art, Computation And Design


Palgrave Macmillan, ISBN: 978-1137437198, English, 320 pages, 2015, UK

The sudden rise of the term “postdigital” in recent digital humanities scholarship is maybe due to the need for a new word to describe the current, edgy human condition. The postdigital has pervaded many different cultural arenas, pushing the prefix “post” to renew an array of stagnating key terms in several academic and artistic fields. The high doses of digital “intelligence” in our lives are now tangible and evidently increasing, showing how a postdigital condition is absolutely real and present, even if not massively acknowledged. This co-edited book (David M. Berry and Michael Dieter) is a valuable collection of texts, mapping the numerous traceable patterns around this concept. Starting from Cramer’s renowned questioning of the term, it is useful to confront again the definitions of “new aesthetics” (Berry, Kwastek, Campanelli) and “post-internet” as well as their respective declinations and contexts. The unquantifiable growth of “big data” is an essential component underling these definitions, (Portanova, Manovich, Golumbia), including the seducing, sometimes deceiving, forms of data visualisation (Cubitt). “Leaks” in the system are also commented on from different perspectives (Apperley, Andersen, Pold, Chun), tracking differences between the present and the past, and accomplishing the call for a collective interpretation of the key terms made by the editors.