The past ten years has seen a sudden rise in the number of academic texts addressing issues surrounding a digital ontology. Ranging from reproduction (Groys 2008), materiality (Blanchette 2011), error (Nunes 2011), and circulation (Steyerl 2009) understanding the digital world has never seemed so pertinent.
Likewise, this spike of interest can be noted in contemporary art production. The rise of Post-Internet Art, a loose movement defined by its use of internet culture and modes of production tailored for online dissemination, showcases the interest in the digital not only as medium but also as content. This trend towards investigating our digital lives has led to the publication of multiple books and staging of international exhibitions that attempt to define a digital ontology.
My research aims to develop an understanding of the core aspect of this recent interest; the thingliness of digital data. By seeking to define the digital in material terms my research touches on many varying issues:
What are the political implications of thinking of data as having materiality and being a thing?
Can we use the same framework of original/reproduction that we apply to traditional artwork to artworks of a digital nature? If not, how should we conceptualise each manifestation of the artwork?
How has the ubiquitous use of digital media in documentation affected the production of artworks?