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Vincenzo Susca: a FEDE-affiliated international researcher

Vincenzo Susca earned his PhD in sociology. A former lecturer at the University of Milan, he is currently MacLuhan Fellow at the University of Toronto, lecturer in sociology at Paul-Valéry University in Montpellier and a researcher affiliated with the CEAQ research centre at the Sorbonne in Paris. He is the author of À l’ombre de Berlusconi (Milan 2004, Paris 2006), Ai confini dell’immaginario (Milan 2006, Porto Alegre 2006), Joie Tragique (Milan 2010, Paris 2011, Barcelone 2012), Transpolitica (Milan 2008, co-authored with D. de Kerckhove) and Récréations (Milan 2008, Paris 2009, co-authored with C. Bardainne). He also co-wrote a play Angelus Novissimus (2014) with Alain Béhar and, along with Claudia Attimonelli, curated exhibitions of Madame (2014) and Karin Andersen at the Traffic Gallery in Bergamo. His most recent works are Les affinités connectives (Paris 2016) and Pornoculture (Milan 2016, Paris 2016, Porto Alegre 2016, in collaboration with C. Attimonelli).

Digital Cultures and Postmodernity

Vincenzo Susca’s latest book is entitled Les affinités connectives (Paris: Editions du Cerf, 2016). Susca sets out his ideas below, defending the argument that digital cultures are a powerful symptom of postmodernity – a term he defines.

What are the most important questions raised by digital cultures?

For better and for worse, digital cultures represent a conclusion of and progression beyond the artistic avant-gardes of the 20th century. They generate a fast and furious proliferation of connections that unconsciously maps new manners of being and of living in the world. What world are we talking about? What is the place of human beings in such a world? What happens to the old concept of ‘audience’ in this era where art works can be digitally reproduced?

How would you describe social connections within today’s digital landscape?

The connections arising from the digital landscape no longer depend on a rational, abstract contract but rather on a series of pacts in which emotions, dreams and affects act like social magnets. Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat and other platforms are really embodiments of the connective affinities that exemplify postmodernity.

By ‘postmodernity’ you mean…

Postmodernity is a period in which affects, desire and the imaginary – in other words, the ‘warm’ part of us – are reinstated. It’s a period in which the cold, mechanical and utilitarian reason of modernity is thrown out and relegated to the past. Social media, smartphones, tablets, Wi-Fi, wearable technology, biotechnology, and online socialising also highlight an important point: to a greater and greater degree, media nowadays are no longer separate and abstract from daily life; they no longer impose information on us from above but generate a more horizontal form of information distribution.

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