Post-internet art was coined, at least in part, to describe a new phase of the internet as a cultural force - the internet as a banalized norm.

This, I think, is crazy. We are to the internet what the first cave-painter to draw an elk was to painting. The last years have been years of tumult, torment even, and it’s not escaped anybody’s notice that these upsets have been in part, driven by the internet.

The internet is less like another channel of discourse, and more like a tick - a tumor, burrowed under the world’s skin, pushing the plates apart. Driotcore is absolutely right when he calls our era ‘proto’, and I think wildly optimistic when he says that ‘proto’ might be ‘proto’ to some kind of late-left fantasy.

For any practice to gain widespread use, it has to marshal psychological, social, and economic forces so that, in the last instance, it represents a good choice in each of those contexts.

Normal ideas represent some kind of compromise between institutions, where the economic non-viability of something is hedged against its social necessity, or vice-versa, so that while the pastor is not rich, he is at least respected, and while the oil man is hated, he is rich.

However, there are some synergistic freaks. These ideas are those that arrive, without apparent history, in every discourse. Those that are like zombies, who keep on getting up no matter how many times they are killed, that refuse to stay buried no matter how limbless, legless or heartless they might be.

By far the most significant, post-modernity, was rather telling in that in the end, it gained its most lasting characterization by its critics. Jameson’s Postmodernity, or - contained after the ‘or’ the better term, ‘the cultural logic of late captialism’, and even though Jameson broadly agreed that postmodernity was a relatively coherent object, he saw it as a predicament, rather than a school of thought. Later approaches (for instance, Harvey’s) moved this discussion further towards the second part of the title, further away from discussions of Chinatown, and further towards analysis of ‘just in time’ supply chains and casualization.

“In the 90s it seemed plausible that containerization, post-Fordist production and supply chains and information technology in the new office place were the driving forces of a transition to a New Economy, one more productive, and in different ways, than anything that had come before it. But this great transformation somehow failed to show up statistically and, in due course, the stock-market crash of 2001 brought an end to the decade of cyber-hype. Altogether less plausible was the subsequent expectation that technologically retrograde real-estate bubbles, providing markets for exporters of consumer durables and raw materials, could be a sustainable basis for economic growth. Rather than leading to any ‘New Economy’ in the productive base, the innovations of this period of capitalism have powered transformations in the Lebenswelt of diversion and sociability, an expansion of discount and luxury shopping, but above all a heroic age of what was until recently called ‘financial technology’. Internet and mobile phones, Walmart and Prada, Black–Scholes and subprime—such are the technological landmarks of the period.”1

  1. Gopal Balakrishnan, Speculations On the Stationary State.↩︎