Manovich dedicates a section of his essay on The Anti Sublime to the concept of 'meta-media' - artefacts of older media, adapted and transformed into distinctly new forms. He views the phenomenon as transformative within the cultural sphere, but stops before discussing the ensuing implications in terms of a shared, intersubjective reality- something particularly relevant given some of the contexts we now find ourselves in, with meta-media totally supplanting our direct interaction with their original referents.
While reading this section I kept circling back to Jean Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulations, in which the author makes the case that the contemporary social fabric is now totally founded on interactions with a network of symbols- infinitely and recursively propagating stand-ins and representations of previously real content. The eventual effect of this proliferation, it is argued, is to erase the original, to the point that the real is replaced with the 'hyperreal'. Cultural simulations, originally faithful to real referents, twist first into perversions of their reality, before giving way to a web of circularly defined models with no tie to a grounding reality. They veil that reality's irrelevance to the social world in their deemphasis of the original, and in their infinite mutability:
Abstraction today is no longer that of the map, the double, the mirror or the concept. Simulation is no longer that of a territory, a referential being or a substance. It is the generation by models of a real without origin or reality: a hyperreal. The territory no longer precedes the map, nor survives it. Henceforth, it is the map that precedes the
territory - precession of simulacra - it is the map that engenders the territory and if we were to revive the fable today, it would be the territory whose shreds are slowly rotting
across the map. It is the real, and not the map, whose vestiges subsist here and there, in the deserts which are no longer those of the Empire, but our own. The desert of the real