After a brief respite at the end of the Cold war, once again we contemplate apocalypse, and our cultural forms seem more and more to speak of and to their own ephemerality. The technologies of the new media are as contigent upon built-in obsolescence as the 1950s American cars we ridicule. The storage media we use are increasingly short-lived; the audiences for network, mobile and installation practices are as fickle as the audioences for top ten pop or the daily news.
In these circumstances, audiences can no longer be postponed. We cannot tell ourselves 'posterity will judge us'. The fragilty of the media becomes subject for art, like Douglas Bagnall's Cloud Shape Classifier
Ephemeral communities evolve around distributed artworks, social networks and performances.
Into this nexus we need to add the increasing mobility of the cosmpolitan elites, migrants, homeless, and a culture that ignores or manufactures place and ground, marginalising and mystifying it under the sign of indigeneity.
The dominant response is to embrace the present. The subdominant is to dread the future. Synthesis: to accept the present as virtual, the unique moment in which everything has the potential to become utterly other. This is benjamin's messianic moment, not endlessly deferred but radically undermining the eternal now of the ephemeral.
Transience is distinguished from ephemerality by its embrace of the pressent as the virtual moment of becoming.
Tho ephemrality is a temporal phenomenon, its content is space: the extension of the eternal now. While transince is fundamentally a spatial phenomenon of movement through streets, square, ports, its content is time, the time of change.