It is the combination of these factors – of the spatialisation of time, and the remaking of the actual-virtual relation in the microtime of machine processing, that the peculiar ephemerality of online arts begins to make some new kind of sense. The archive is no longer an appropriate form or metaphor for the places where old works go. As they assimilate into a geology of the web, comprised of human memories and machinic codes, they begin to form something more like a historical atlas, more like the pathways and legends generated in Urban Tapestries. The very leakiness of the web and the internet, their imbrication into everyday life, suggests that we can no longer hope to define digital aesthetics as distinct from any other; and that just as digital aesthetics can no longer be spoken in the singular, nor can it be spoken as medium-specific. Instead, and in return, it has leaked out into the world and made all aesthetics digital, cognisant of the invisible shadow of data surrounding every poem, every painting, every stone. The gift of the digital to the world it now enters is not then immateriality, nor the end of history, but its redemption in the mortality which, perversely enough, it has taken this planet-spanning network of technology to teach us
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