Postdigital is a term which has recently come into use in the discourse of digital artistic practice. This term points significantly to our rapidly changed and changing relationships with digital technologies and art forms. It points to an attitude that is more concerned with being human, than with being digital. If one examines the textual paradigm of consensus, one is faced with a choice: either the “postdigital” society has intrinsic meaning, or it is contextualised into a paradigm of consensus that includes art as a totality. Either way, Roy Ascott has clearly demonstrated that the distinction between the digital and the “postdigital” is part of the economy of reality.
Kim Cascone uses the term in his article The Aesthetics of Failure: “Post-digital” Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music. He begins the article with a quotation from MIT Media Lab cyberpundit Nicholas Negroponte: “The digital revolution is over.” Cascone goes on to describe what he sees as a ‘post-digital’ line of flight in the music also commonly known as glitch or microsound music, observing that 'with electronic commerce now a natural part of the business fabric of the Western world and Hollywood cranking out digital fluff by the gigabyte, the medium of digital technology holds less fascination for composers in and of itself.’
In The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age Mel Alexenberg defines “postdigital art” as artworks 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.
In Art after Technology Maurice Benayoun lists possible tracks for “postdigital” art considering that the digital flooding has altered the entire social, economical, artistic landscape and the artist posture will move in ways that try to escape the technological realm without being able to completely discard it. From lowtech to biotech and critical fusion - critical intrusion of fiction inside reality - new forms of art emerge out of the digital era.
More recently, the notion of postdigital is emerging as a term that describes the creative exploration of our relationship to the computer age as we move into a time of global remixing, intertwined economies, population certainty and planetary limits.
Giorgio Agamben (2002) describes paradigms as things what we think with, rather than things we think about. Like the computer age, the postdigital is also a paradigm, but as with post-humanism for example, an understanding of postdigital does not aim to describe a life after digital, but rather attempts to describe the present-day opportunity to explore the consequences of the digital and of the computer age. While the computer age has enhanced human capacity with inviting and uncanny prosthetics, the postdigital may provide a paradigm with which it is possible to examine and understand this enhancement.