Originality and authenthicity may seem like tidy concepts with fixed borders, but these borders are dissolving in the post-digital age. We travel around the world staying in Airbnb homes furnished by Ikea and hoping to encounter “the real [city name here]”. We eat crisps with artificially simulated flavours suggested by customers while drinking omnipresent craft beers. Whether traveling or buying groceries, we painstakingly look for a unique experience.
The globalized and technologically media-dominated consumer society is intimately entwined with debates about authenticity, not just of products, the validity of which needs somehow to be confirmed (from organic food to art), but also with respect to certain kinds of experiences and ways of being in the world. Nonetheless, “the real thing” presents us with some productive uncertainties that generate a point of departure for an analysis and a better understanding of the changes taking place in the post-digital society.
The promise of the democratisation of information has ended up in a slippery area saturated with images and colonised by digital surveillance. The aftermath of the digital revolution has led to the post-digital condition: a messy, paradoxical condition that no longer distinguishes between online and offline, where digital technology is embedded and normalised in almost every contemporary personal relationship, labour condition or aesthetic practice.