Postdigital cultures describes what comes:
- after the digital
- after the digital humanities
- after the humanities - including humanism and the human (i.e. the posthumanities)
Postdigital Cultures research belongs to the broader digital humanities field. Today, however, the “digital” can no longer be understood as a separate domain of culture. If we actually examine the digital - rather than taking it for granted we already know what it means – we soon see that nearly all media involve digital information processing. This includes printed texts, which are rarely written, read, or published without using software such as Microsoft Word. The very idea of digital humanities – based as it is on a presumed difference between computing and the digital on the one hand, and the humanistic and human on the other – is therefore somewhat anachronistic and inappropriate. This is why the CPC has adopted the term postdigital cultures.
The CPC takes as one of its starting points for researching postdigital cultures the origin of the word data, which is the plural of the Latin word for datum. Datum means a proposition that is assumed, given, or taken for granted, often in order to construct a theoretical framework or draw conclusions. Moreover, in engineering, the datum point is the place from which measurements are taken. The datum point itself, however, is not checked or questioned; as the position from which measurements are made, it is precisely a given.
It is those propositions and datum points that our culture takes for granted, in order to construct theories and draw conclusions about the digital, that the CPC investigates. They include not just “the digital” itself, but also the human, technology, the printed text, the network, copyright and IP. For example, who does the measuring when it comes to data and who it is this measuring for? Conventionally, it is the human subject. With what? With technology and tools seen as separate from the human. How are the measurements – the data – recorded, published and disseminated? Print texts and computerised information networks. How is this circulation controlled? Through copyright.