Thursday, February 4, 2010

New Book on Postdigital Art

Author’s Note for Updated and Enlarged Second Edition
The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness

When Intellect Books/University of Chicago Press asked me to create an updated and enlarged edition of my 2006 book The Future of Art in a Digital Age: From Hellenistic to Hebraic Consciousness, it was clear to me that the book called for an updated title that reflected the emergence of a postdigital age. Wikipedia, itself an exemplary postdigital collaborative creation, defines ‘postdigital’ as a term used in the discourse of digital artistic practice at a time of rapidly changing relationships between digital technologies and art forms more concerned with being human than with being digital.

Reading the Wikipedia entry for ‘postdigital’ made me realize that much the first edition of this book was already proposing postdigital perspectives through my thoughts about the transition from the Hellenistic to the Hebraic roots of Western culture. Indeed, I sensed a postdigital aura from my first encounters with the digital age nearly half a century ago when I first created computer-generated pictures that called out for a warm human embrace to my current works of participatory blogart and wikiart that mirrors the Talmud, the oldest on-going wikicreation that spans centuries and continents.

When I checked Wiktionary, the wiki-based open content dictionary, for a definition of ‘postdigital,’ I found none. So I created one based upon my research for writing this Postdigital Edition of my book. I posted it on Wiktionary and added it to Wikipedia’s entry for ‘postdigital.’ My act of collaborating in the creation of the world’s most actively used dictionary and encyclopedia beautifully exemplifies the postdigital age. Now, if you look for the Wiktionary definition of ‘postdigital’ you will find mine.

Postdigtial (adjective). of or pertaining to art forms that address the humanization of digital technologies through interplay between digital, biological, cultural, and spiritual systems, between cyberspace and real space, between embodied media and mixed reality in social and physical communication, between high tech and high touch experiences, between visual, haptic, auditory, and kinesthetic media experiences, between virtual and augmented reality, between roots and globalization, between autoethnography and community narrative, and between web-enabled peer-produced wikiart and artworks created with alternative media through participation, interaction, and collaboration in which the role of the artist is redefined.

I have added two chapters to this new edition: “Postdigital Perspectives: Rediscovering Ten Fingers” and “Wiki Perspectives: Local and Global Collaborations.” They both elaborate on my Wiktionary definition of ‘postdigital’ through theoretical discussions and descriptions of exemplary artworks.

The black and white photographs in the first edition have been dropped in favor of inviting my readers to see photographs of artworks in full color posted on my website, on my Postdigital Art and Wikiartists blogs, and on by ‘Postdigital Art’ Facebook group wall. This digital solution not only offers access to many more photographs than were printed in the first edition, but allows for continual updating with new images. So take breaks from reading this book and enter into cyberspace to enrich your encounters with my words through viewing the colorful images posted on my website and blogs.


  1. Hi Mel,
    Very important definition of ‘Postdigital Art’,
    coping with our postdigital condition, where the Sunject is superpositioned in a holistic energe field (virtual, phisical and mental).

  2. Dear Prof.Alexenberg,

    I was so impressed by your spiel as to be inspired to postwrite & dedicate a poem to you… lol

    Postdigital Alexithymia

    It is not Sanskrit
    or a Freudian slip
    nor a Hermann Rorschach
    ink blot test.

    No, it’s not a Carl Jung
    symbol either.
    But Joseph Campbell
    could have had something

    to do with it. It deals
    with smoke and mirrors and
    verbosity. At any rate it’s
    a myth about conciseness.

    Alex Nodopaka Feb©2010
    AD Something