Institute for Postdigital Narrative (IPN)
There is no question that contemporary generations operate within the various hybrid realities of our digital age with a distinctive naturalness and implicitness, as if the world had been such for centuries. Real-time experience, virtuality, interactivity, nonlinearity, and telematics especially determine young people’s perception of reality. We can no longer rely on one-dimensional representational systems to understand the complexities of our contemporary world. There is a need for more accessible variable systems, as they help us comprehend the interwoven realities of our times. Though above all, it is most important to develop the ability to embrace and humanize the often-alienating characteristics of digital culture.
Mankind has always operated on narrative to explain and understand its own existence. Our times, in particular, call for the exploration, expression, and especially, creation of new story-telling formats. Although the contemporary generations are finding themselves increasingly confronted by their digital reality, they still remain material, or analog, at their core. Man cannot flee his physicality and location. It is also becoming increasingly apparent in our digitally influenced quotidian-culture that the physical is of a special fascination and attractiveness. The dilemma of virtual representation and analog imprisonment will only be overcome when a close interplay between these seemingly opposing conditions is attained.
There are indeed serious indications that a postdigital consciousness is slowly being established. The concept of postdigitalism was coined by Prof. Dr. Mel Alexenberg, and appropriately summarizes the reverberatory exposure of our times to the digital vortex. New formats are becoming more important. Take Serious Games for example: these are digital games that undertake serious content such as political or social themes. In these games the serious content is directed to groups that normally do not have direct access to such themes. In this way, the computer game has become a medium that is able to critique.
Postdigital qualities can also be observed in the area of WEB 2.0, in which the Internet user makes the transformation from consumer to producer. Social networks (social media) have gained importance through the enabling of social interaction and collaboration. This seems to be only the beginning of a forward tending era, as the Internet still has so much un-tapped potential. One should not overlook, that this medium became a collective hard-drive and a collective processor of humanity.
These seemingly different areas naturally are closely interwoven and combinable.
Prof. Dr. Mel Alexenberg, Emuna College, Jerusalem
Dr. Konstantin Akinsha, independent scholar
Prof. Dr. Norman Klein, University CalArts, Los Angeles
Prof. Dr. Cai Xinyuan, Wuhan University of Technology, Wuhan