What Can and Cannot Be Felt: The Paradox of Affectivity in Post-Internet Art
AbstractFocusing on the paradox of embodiment/ disembodiment in virtual space, and on the recent history of Net Art, this article proposes to go back to Roy Ascott’s metaphor of the ‘telematic embrace’ in order to examine different artistic and theoretical approaches to online affectivity. While the first generation of artists who founded the net.art movement was openly fascinated by the novelty of cyberspace as a medium, currently artists are adopting online tools to produce also offline works, revealing the presence of Internet culture in contemporary society instead of focusing on the nature of the medium in itself. In this scenario, marked by the current Post-Internet discourse, real and virtual worlds overlap, and hybrid artistic forms emerge. But are Net artists still reinterpreting the idea of virtual embrace? Or have they moved away from a romantic stance, highlighting the perils of the digital revolution in the so-called Post-Digital age? Adopting a phenomenological perspective, this essay aims to address these questions, exploring the paradox of affectivity in contemporary networked cultures through the analysis of emblematic artworks.
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