For the past few months, I’ve been reading articles about blogging. Specifically, about the way bloggers interact with the past through things such as vintage outfit posts, design pieces that draw inspiration from history, or a simple visual adoration of the styles of the past collected on their various social media platforms such as Pinterest and Tumblr. There has been a certain thread of analysis running through the various articles I’ve encountered on the subject, many of which are highly critical of the nostalgic ‘vintage’ trend amongst young bloggers. It is argued that history is being flattened out of meaning and significance as a simple aesthetic; as a ‘fashion’ one can wear, or a way one can decorate the home. That is, we no longer have a ‘real’ relationship with history and its narratives, but are stuck in an aesthetic vacuousness, superficially engaging with the past as a style for our consumption. And of course, this trend is held up as a summary of the natural progression of our postmodernist consumer culture, representing what Dianne F. Sadoff calls “a media-saturated culture’s gleeful repurposing of classic culture as content/software for advertising”, and little more. 
To a certain extent, I agree with this criticism. I’ve been disturbed, time and again, when I’ve encountered images of Holocaust memorials, people during war and images from the past being consumed as a pleasing visual aesthetic or consumer ‘product’ on many blogs. Yet, what I find interesting about the criticism levelled against this trend is the way it is often assumed that new media is creating this phenomenon, all on its own.
As someone who has spent the last seven years studying, teaching, researching and writing abouthistorical films and costume dramas, I find it baffling to encounter arguments that suggest blogging and new social media alone are creating a postmodernist loss of historical knowledge and an aestheticisation of the past. It is as if the past few decades of film and television have not existed. Blogs and Pinterest have not invented our current form of consumption of history, but rather, they are simply extending it.
Speculative Engineering: The architecture, philosophy and Internet art of a hybridized reality - Elliott Mickleburgh
At the end of the 20th century, humanity had a curious strategy for regarding the techno-spaces unfolding with the advancement of digital technology. The newly arrived non-spaces of the World Wide Web had generated a cultural atmosphere of cognitive dissonance bordering on paranoia, a mindset of deep hysteria that had to be sedated with the creation of a new mythology of space. The technological networks facilitating accelerated access to information across the globe were re-conceptualized under this mythology as architectures of bits and pixels, a virtual space completely distinct from the actual reality composed of atoms and matter that we naturally inhabit. Entrance to cyberspace was analogous to religious transcendence, flesh and bone abandoned as mind and spirit entered an immaterial universe of information.
As we move beyond the threshold of the millennia, this mythology evaporates. The worlds of the actual and the virtual have collapsed inwards. Matter and data now collide in a new hybridized reality system in which the spatial distinctions upheld by the mythology of cyberspace have given in to the realization that both worlds are at all times mutually influencing one another. The fantasy of the Internet existing as a utopian destination free of the prejudices, cruelty, and violence of the real world, has crumbled. Humanity has arrived at the cold awareness that causality is not hindered by the barrier that separates the online and the offline.
In terms of aesthetics, the composite reality that has succeeded the last century’s spatial techno-mythologies has already been partially subsumed into the discourse of postmodernism. To this end, the integration of the actual and the virtual becomes the final measure in the eradication of medium specificity. As the limit between matter and information approaches zero, the image finds itself fully released from the restrictive equivocation of medium and message described by Marshall McLuhan in a bygone era of media culture. Postmodern new media artists thus celebrate hybridized reality as a fluid structure that allows aesthetic content to proliferate across a spectrum of material and immaterial forms, continuing the epistemological erosion that Jean-François Lyotard described as the postmodern condition itself.
Common Authorship: Towards an Authority of Art: One network culture, collaborative social interactions, and Dries Verhoeven’s 'Life Streaming'
The tension between politics and aesthetics can be ascribed to the relation between authority and authorship. What is the political role of art? Could a particular theory of authorship in art present and demonstrate an alternative notion of political authority? New technological possibilities and a fresh political sensibility points towards a nascent theory of authorship (and authority) that exists between – and beyond – the ideas of modernism and postmodernism: common (metamodern) authorship.
The critic Peter Burger stated that the modernist avant-garde loathed the idea of art as an autonomous sphere of production, separate from the sphere of politics and thus unable to directly intervene in the construction of modern society. They asserted that the values of their art should become the values of their culture, indicating their utopian aim to organise society from a basis in art. However, several commentators have observed that the modernist era was one in which reformers prescribed a certain system of authority and demanded obedience and support. Although the avant-garde believed that their authority was incontestably justified, they were essentially advocating a form of cultural totalitarianism.
Later in the twentieth century, Barthes famously asserted that the author was dead and the reader had been born. However Barthes’ declaration that the author was dead didn’t simply mean that the reader had a greater influence over the meaning of a particular text or artwork. If you merge his provocation with the mission of the modernist avant-garde, one can conclude that a form of social organisation or notion of authority can no longer be imposed on passive subjects, it is something that is produced among collaborative agents. The metamodern author(s) strides out from this union of modernism and postmodernism, politics and aesthetics, authority and authorship. But what kind of artistic projects represent the practice of the metamodern author most clearly?
In his 2008 speech at the Tate Modern, the political philosopher Antonio Negri proclaimed that contemporary artists are obliged to confront a new set of questions about our current political and social climate, including “how can the human being be entirely re-thought?” (Negri 2011:106). For Negri, artistic labour belongs to the sphere of biopolitical production, which is described as the “production of ideas, codes, images, affects and social relationships (that) directly treats the constituent elements of human subjectivity.” (Hardt and Negri 2009:172). He argues that subjectivity is determined by our forms of cooperation and communication with others, therefore, art can reconfigure the notion of the human being by embracing the values and methods of participation and collaboration. In fact, Negri’s question indicates a shift in the desired result of the artistic process from the primarily material or visual to the social and relational.