The term author presumes something original that was developed or originated by a particular creator. Taking the term author or auctor as derived from the Latin verb augere – to increase, grow – we think of someone without whom there would be no growth or development, someone who has the authority (auctoritas), who is the guarantor and model for the work in question. In our societies, authority is held by ministers and masters, the powers-that-be in secular and religious domains. Since auctoritas also implies the creation or formulation of something original and independent, the appearance of a copy (identical to the original) becomes a threat to the very existence of auctoritas. Since the invention of artificial memories (apparatuses), the notion of a mythical author creating original works in solitude is in crisis.
The disappearance of the author began as early as the seventeenth century: John Amos Comenius recommended replacing the dictum of autos epha – magister dixit – with autopsia, that is, “go have a look at it yourself.” This finds its ultimate fulfillment with the advent of photography, for if images are generated automatically, an author is superfluous. Once the aura is gone, so is authority (Kommunikologie weiter denken, 2009, p. 137). Still, it would be mistaken to ask, “What difference does it make who is saying it,” or to proclaim the (final) death of the author. The author understood as an authority may vanish with technical images, but can then reappear, virtually, in a new creative form in the projection. This is the true rise of the actual creator, who stands before us in a new relationship: “‘I’ is […] what you say ‘you’ to” (“Die Stadt als Wellental in der Bilderflut,” in: Nachgeschichten, 1990, p. 177; translated from the German) – in other words, the one who recognizes himself via the other. A society of digital networks allows us to imagine anyone as a potential, equal participant in a telematic or virtual collective game; there are no historically privileged roles anymore. The auctor of the future becomes a part of expanded worlds in a (intersubjective) game with others, as creator and projection of augmented realities. The result may be new, immeasurable information.