With rapidly evolving technological advances, post-internet art discusses how humanity goes forward alongside machines.
Still in the process of being shaped and defined by artists, post-internet art is a movement referring to the way society interacts with the widespread use of the Internet and how this affects society and culture. A successor to internet art, post-internet refers to state of mind rather than the explicit use of the internet itself. We discuss artists working now who approach this issue by their own means.
Eno Henze explores the relationship between humans and machines, between organic and synthetic and the complexities of organic creativity. His work frequently uses machines to interpret human activity such as drawing or producing an original ‘good’ piece of art. In this respect it is difficult to assign authorship or originality to the work, made by a machine programmed by a human. The machine is capable of making a ‘perfect’ image but cannot make a judgment call on ‘good’ or ‘bad’ art. In a world where images are more available for editing and appropriating than before, this brings us back the ever debated question What is called Art and does not qualify?
Henze’s work asks what the rapid evolution of technology means for human creativity leading us to question what will become obsolete in the future as technological advances are made. Will human creativity become to digital drawing as analogue photography has become to digital?
Amy Brener creates sculptures using plastic and remnants of technology to create light sensitive sculptures reminiscent of natural geological rock and crystal formations. Laptops, phones and computers, the tools we use to access the internet, are quickly made obsolete with rapid advances in hardware and buyer preferences in our current consumer culture, going quickly from the most connected and important object in one’s life to a antiquated piece of plastic and metal.
The materials used in Brener’s work subtly combine many components of these machines into human height crystals, which suggest an imagined future and allude to the merging of nature, humans and technology. Perhaps this realizes a now, eerily more precise vision of prophetic 20th century science fiction films.
However, though many artists are making work about the ongoing and always changing overlap of human and machine, Flavie Audi’s work completely moves away from the cyber connection and comes back to direct connections with objects. Audi uses glass and light in her work to create experiences in which humans can form a relationship with materials. Her art is about making a space for this to happen because, in a world of industrial production and virtual realities, she believes that humans have a desire to return to materiality.
If this is the case, it would appear that we have made a journey full circle. In the early boom of consumer capitalism the more objects one owned the higher status they had in society. More recently there is an attempt to escape this consumer culture; the word materialistic has become negative. It is therefore, somewhat alien to hear Audi talk about humans desire to return to materiality, due to the evolution of the word. Though, the use of this word does not imply that humans’ deepest desire is to own the latest sound system but that they wish to have a physical connection with an object in a space away from digital tools, and this is what her work aims to do. It is about creating social emancipation from technology.
Post-internet art has a self awareness of the networks it exists within, including influences of imagery that is for profit, advertising and merchandising, because of this aspects of design will continue to cross over into art that concerns itself with the virtual. The term post-internet is still developing but these artists approach the themes it encompasses in ways that independently question where the progression of technology will lead us, whether we should be allowing it, resisting it or if we have no choice at all. Whatever we should be doing, humanity is so entrenched in the virtual world, it seems certain that there is a long way to go before the Internet and it’s accompanying state of mind could ever become history.