transmediale 2013 Berlin
with 4 thematic threads: Users, Networks, Paper, Desire. The paper thread has an interesting intro:
BWTGGWAG – Back When The Gutenberg Galaxy Was A Galaxy: In the post-digital and networked world, printed matter is no longer the exclusive factor that defines literacy as a cultural imaginary. Theorists such as Katherine N. Hayles have suggested that the new digital culture of reading and writing ultimately makes us think differently. The writer Kenneth Goldsmith proposes eternally repurposing “uncreativity” as the central cultural practice of networked literacy. However, instead of a sharp break with the past, the contemporary situation of reading and writing is informed by hybrid states in between the analog and digital, forming a post-digital print culture. Paradoxically, a seemingly obsolete material entity haunts these hybrid practices: paper. It is not so much the book or any other specific publishing format that acts as a mediator, but paper itself has taken on the role of a persisting material. This thread investigates different facets of post-digital print culture, extending into new forms of DIY publishing that refashion analog forms into the digital and vice versa. It also looks into historical conditions of this culture, tracing important socio-cultural histories such as the history of paper as a transcendent cultural form and its various artistic appropriations in mail art, concrete poetry and artists books. By taking paper as its starting point, we are both signaling interest in the technical materiality that allowed such experiments to take place and suggesting that we perceive paper as a powerful cultural imaginary informing print culture, beyond the material as such. From this perspective, we are also moving into the (at times unruly, at times code-based) poetical territories of fiction.
via Paper | transmediale.
In other words paper performs a cultural function that transcends the analog_digital divide. It persists alongside the new media, or even better it is so good that the new media gravitates towards it. See for instance the new material of the 21 century Graphene, which might become the new paper. It is a carbon sheet one atom thin, that is very strong and is a good electrical conductor. Looking at the images of possible applications (made no doubt to secure more research funding) made me realise this. The digital screen is becoming more and more like paper.