Paddy Johnson mines a recent "post-internet" exhibition's catalog materials for some nuggets about this non-topic.
First, the conventional wisdom, sort of the half-asleep collector's understanding of the term "post-internet" and the artists it covers, from the curator Domenico Quaranta:
The term was coined by Marisa Olson, adopted by Gene McHugh for his art criticism blog, and popularized by Katja Novitskova’s art book Post Internet Survival Guide and by Artie Vierkant’s essay “The Image Object Post-internet.” Surfing Clubs and VVORK, Seth Price’s Dispersion and e-flux journal, the work of artists such as Cory Arcangel and Oliver Laric have been all influential in the development of post-internet.
That's a lot of unrelated stuff lumped together. Whitney museum curator Christiane Paul, who the same catalog describes as a "post-internet thought leader" despite being the personification of the digital art establishment, questions the Olson mythology and pretty much all the rest of it:
I find the term mostly annoying and don’t believe it will have traction in the long run. The concept of a “post”-scenario has been kicked around for more than a decade. Josephine Berry Slater talked about post-internet art in 2003 in her introduction at a symposium at Tate, and of course Steve Dietz and Sarah Cook have been writing about and curating art “after” new media since 2004.
The fact that I have major issues with the “post” in this terminology aside, I find it interesting that it typically seems to take a decade for these concepts to gain traction. (This was also the case with regard to blogs; the blogosphere took off roughly a decade after blogs, as software, were created.) The term post-medium—as it has been defined by Felix Guattari, then Rosalind Krauss, then Peter Weibel over the past few decades—makes sense to me. Referring to Krauss and Weibel, in particular, we are indeed in an era after medium distinctions (as defined by Clement Greenberg), due to the convergences the digital medium has brought about. Post-medium to me still is best as a term for getting to the core of what post-internet and post-digital tries to grasp, a condition of artistic practice that fuses digital into traditional media.
“Post” is a temporal classifier and temporality is where post-internet and post-digital fail for me. Both terms try to describe a condition that is very real and important; I am by no means debating the condition they outline, but the usefulness of the terms. The internet and the digital are pervasive—not disregarding the fact that there is a digital divide and parts of this world are not connected or digitized—and we are by no means “after” the Internet or the digital. Claiming the latter is similar to stating that we are post-car while being stuck in a massive traffic jam on the highway.
That just about nails it, let's move on. One quibble: blog software appeared around '99, the blogosphere flourished about five years later, then collapsed when everyone moved to Facebook.