#POSTDIGITALISMAugust 21, 2017
Theo-Mass Lexileictous (CY)
It was over a decade ago when Nicholas Negroponte, academic and computer scientist (founder and Chairman Emeritus of MIT Media Lab), declared that “the digital revolution is over” and when Kim Cascone, an American composer of electronic music, ushered in the word post-digital in his book “The Aesthetics of Failure: “Post-digital” Tendencies in Contemporary Computer Music in 2000”. The 21st century welcomed so many other academics, artists and theorists who elaborated on the post-digitalism issue, one of the most recent being Mel Alexenberg, artist and educator, who published his book in 2011 “The Future of Art in a Postdigital Age” offering insight into new art forms emerging from a postdigital age to address what he calls “the humanization of digital technologies”. In 2012, artist Theo-Mass Lexileictous publicly revealed, for the very first time, his preoccupation with #postdigitalism in an interview with Dazed Digital before writing his #postdigitalismmanifesto, launched at the P3Studio Gallery in Las Vegas. The exhibition #POSTDIGITALISM in May 2012 at Morfi Gallery, Limassol, Cyprus represented the artist’s official declaration of #postdigitalism concept and vision.
For Theo-Mass Lexileictous, #postdigitalism primarily refers to the exploration of new avenues dealing with the extraction of the digital into the physical, the result of which aims to create hybrid artworks. Coined in 2012, #postdigitalism is a term necessarily preceded by a hash mark (#) in order to be identified as part of this decade’s language formation and highlight the emergence of a hybrid language evident in our everyday communication, present in all types of media.
A creative exploration into art and language, the #postdigitalism notion according to Theo- Mass Lexileictous consists of:
#POSTDIGITAL ARTWORKS: #hybridartworks and #postdigitalistobjects
#POSTDIGITAL LANGUAGE: #postdigitalistautomaticwriting and #hybridlanguage
The #postdigitalism chapter in Theo-Mass Lexileictous’ work is not just another episode, but an autonomous, in-depth and mature investigation into the issues surrounding contemporary art and culture. Paradoxical as it may seem, Theo-Mass Lexileictous’ latest research assumes that #postdigitalism is related to Surrealism, the 1940’s post-war European artistic movement.
Observing the way we use language in social media networks, #postdigitalistautomaticwriting was coined by Theo-Mass Lexileictous to refer to the surrealist automatic writing. The way in which people communicate today – the use of hashtags, random words, fragmented phrases and sentences – is what initially prompted Theo-Mass Lexileictous to look at the Surrealists’ practice of automatic writing. Their objective was to express themselves in writing without filtering their thoughts, but rather to achieve an automatic response to writing, which they thought could be associated with their unconscious. However, automatism in Theo-Mass’s #postdigitalistautomaticwriting concept addresses the ways through which users can automatically enter themed image archives by following the word preceded by the hash mark (#). The concept of #postdigitalistautomaticwriting, according to the artist, is assumed solely in the form of printed text. The same principle applies to all #postdigitalist art and language practices since #postdigital is understood as whatever is extracted from the digital world into the physical.
The definition of #hybridlanguage involves all the aforementioned, only in this case the word or phrase preceded by the hash mark (#) is used within consistent sentences. An example would be the sentence, “The #postdigitalism issue will be released in early December”. In #postdigitalistautomaticwriting, this would be“#postdigitalism @theomass #newspaper #theomasstimes #lexileictous #selfie #december #issue6”.
#postdigitalistobjects are created following the same rationale in an attempt to explore the same concept and philosophy. Practically explained, #postdigitalistobjects are three dimensional artworks/sculptures. A good example would be a 3D object created on 3D software and consequently materialized with a 3D printer. Objects that bear #postdigitalistautomaticwriting, #hybridlanguage or any type of digital language conventions are also included in the range of #postdigitalistobjects since the information they carry renders them #postdigital. For example, a magazine that bears the inscription #thesexissue; within the context of #postdigitalism, it is no longer just a magazine, it is a #postdigitalistobject.
His 2D artworks aim to explore and question the outcome that results from the cross between the abstractness of the digital world and the substantiality of physical existence. What occurs in their intersection causes the artist’s fixation on the notion of hybridity. Commonly defined as the composition of heterogeneous elements, the meaning of hybrid is put forward to denote exactly that: the merging of two distinct realities and the effect they provoke when juxtaposed. For example, Theo-Mass Lexileictous’ latest painting displays a white-grey checkered pattern in order to represent what we perceive/understand as a transparent background in the digital language, on which a caption in black reads #thisisnotatransparentbackground. A pure hybrid as he describes it, the #thisisnotatransparentbackground painting is, according to Theo-Mass Lexileictous, the best example of his #postdigitalist 2D artworks’ theory. Referencing Magritte’s iconic painting “Ceci n’est pas une pipe”, #thisisnotatransparentbackground is created to challenge the viewer’s perception by posing the following question: how do we perceive the outcome that results from the intersection between these two worlds?
Within the discourse of Postdigitalism throughout the last decade, one notices the emergence of several linguistic variations of the same word. The Post-digital for Cascone became postdigital for Alexenberg and #postdigitalism for Theo-Mass Lexileictous. What ties them all together though, is the fact that the terms post-digital, postdigital, and #postdigitalism refer specifically to artistic practices and most importantly bear questions, thus fulfilling the primary purpose of art. What is Postdigitalism in art? Which artworks belong under the umbrella of Postdigitalism? When did the postdigitalism notion begin? Theo-Mass Lexileictous ventures on a journey of creative research in an attempt to explore his definition of #postdigitalism and the yet unknown potentials of uniting the digital world with physical existence with the objective that these outcomes will ultimately configure new avenues for the future of art.