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Postmodernism is dead


Postmodernism is dead
Edward Docx
  20th July 2011 — Issue 185 Free entry
A new exhibition signals the end of postmodernism. But what was it? And what comes next?

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Aug/17/2011, 10:38 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
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Thanks so much for this, Chris. I am sending it around. It is like a deep breath exhaling permission to break out into the next wave.
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Your welcome, Libra. I doubt this is the last word on the subject. What I appreciate about the article is its explanation of postmodernism
which I've never understood. Even remotely. It's not a particularly judgmental article, near as I can tell.

Chris
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Chris, for me the aesthetics, if you can call it that, involving postmodernism has always been dead. And disengenous. I frankly don't want to enter yet another period with a name. Time later for lit historians to name us. Our business is art. Not categorization.

Tere
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Chris,
I've been interested in these questions for some time. Have read up on it in the past -- to some degree. Read the article, most of it, and most of the comments. In the comments, someone says that postmodernism has done "ambiguity" to death. Ambiguity is one of the words I use often in commenting on poems on the internet, though not as much here. I think this article says a lot that is applicable to many of the poets on the net (at least to the other site where some of us post). Nobody wants to be categorized. Nobody wants to be compared to anybody else. How in the world are we to put a value on anything without "comparing"? Anyway, this article, which as both lauded and attacked in the comments that people make in the followup space below, brought out a lot of important questions. I enjoyed it. It took a while to read it -- read it in three sittings. One of the comments suggested the next phase might be "clarity." Another writer I read a year or so ago suggested the next phase after Postmodernism might be "faith." Choose something and believe in it. Go from disintegration (which some say is Postmodernism to integration, unity, faith and clarity. Of course, we won't have a clue for another fifty years or a hundred. We won't be here. Thanks for posting this. Have you posted it at TCP in the "Everything Else" area? Zak

 
quote:

Christine98 wrote:

Postmodernism is dead
Edward Docx
  20th July 2011 — Issue 185 Free entry
A new exhibition signals the end of postmodernism. But what was it? And what comes next?

[sign in to see URL]



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Terreson,
I used to interact on the net with an individual who seemed to be seemed be a Modernist. He had no use for Postmodernism. I don't think his antagonists in the discussion site even described their position officially as "postmodernism." But he could smell it, and would truncate any discussion summarily if it smelled of it.

I can understand your dislike for the theme, for how the period has been labeled -- or perhaps "why" the period has been labeled as such. While you are a poet, and a essayist, a writer of brilliant short prose (and maybe long -- I haven't read your book length material, but I'm assuming it's as good as your short prose), you -- like a former English prof of mine, who writes poetry and is paid well for it -- eschew the intellectual discussion. Interesting because I don't see you as being anti-intellectual.

The problem with your comment, "Our business is art. Not categorization." is that we cannot avoid categorization because by posting here and elsewhere we are asking to be "valued." Valuing by definition seeks categorization because it seeks comparison. How else are you to know that my poetry, or anybody else's poetry, is any good except by comparing? Can you really judge a poem in a vacuum? If so, how?

Through a gut instinct? Ok, if you can do it that way, how are you going to "describe" what you feel in your gut without comparing? Help me out.

I can't argue with you when you say to let lit historians categorize us later. Obviously, the later historians will have a better handle on it. But I think the classification, categorization, comparing begins immediately because when you write a poem, people will immediately begin to compare and contrast your material with the poets who have come before -- and if you don't fit in, if you're not a Romantic, a Victorian, a Modern, a Classicist, whatever, they will then say, "Well, he's something new" and they will try to give it a name. Or they will apply a name to it that attaches to some name a philosopher has come up with -- which apparently is where postmodernism came from. Zak

quote:

Terreson wrote:

Chris, for me the aesthetics, if you can call it that, involving postmodernism has always been dead. And disengenous. I frankly don't want to enter yet another period with a name. Time later for lit historians to name us. Our business is art. Not categorization.

Tere



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Hi Zak,

I'm glad the article interested you, thanks for your response. For me, it's something to add to my ongoing education. I squirrel stuff like this [sign in to see URL] the older I get, the less I retain. These observations are helpful, I think:

Above all, it is way a way of thinking and making that sought to strip privilege from any one ethos and to deny the consensus of taste.

There is no single narrative, no privileged standpoint, no system or theory that overlays
all [sign in to see URL] narratives exist together, side by side, with none dominating. This confluence of narratives is the essence of postmodernism


Also the author suggests, postmodernism is not so much fading away as taking its place alongside other "great ideas and movements."

"Because we are all becoming more comfortable with the idea of holding two irreconcilable ideas in our heads: that no system of meaning can have a monopoly on the truth, but that we still have to render the truth through our chosen system of meaning. So the postmodern challenge, while no less radical, somehow feels less powerful to us. We are learning to live with it."

He observes an interest, maybe a yearning for, specificity, values and authenticity. [sign in to see URL] old is new again.

I don't post at TCP although I lurk in a well meaning and curious way. Maybe you want to post a link to the article?

Chris

 



  
Aug/21/2011, 10:14 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
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Good to read you weighing in, Zak. I thank Chris for posting a topic that interests you, one, as you say, you've thought about for a while.

First off, you are right. I am not an intellectual. I enjoy conversations with intellectuals. They show me much, give me much to chew on. I am just not one of them. Can't be. It is not how I process and proceed I am a poet. The true intellectuals I know understand and respect as much, knowing poets have much to bring to the table. The faux type intellectual frankly doesn't interest me. But enough of that.

I read your post a while ago and needed to think on it. You are right. Invariably we categorize by means of making comparisons. Human brain seems to be hard wired that way, as it is something we do in all of our activities. Not only in art, or in thinking, but in all walks of life. Maybe it has to do with the old pleasure/pain principle that governs us. Maybe it has to do with the fight or flight principle.

I admit to making my own comparisons. Take your poetry, for example. When I first got, or thought I got, the Edward Hopper in your poetry I felt I had the means to approaching your poetry and to seeing how (I think) you see things and people and places. I am using you as an example but, sure, I do the same with every one I read.

That said, it is a tendancy I feel we, artists, should fight against with every means we have. Here is why:

The act of naming
cheats us into thinking
we know the thing.
The act of poetry
gets us behind the name,
inside the thing.

Words are mine. If my initial approach to your poetry involves a Hopperesque aesthetic it only gets me as far as the surface of your poems. After that it is up to me to get inside your scenes. Both ethos and pathos of what your poetry looks to chase down, scare up, flush out. And I can only do that on your terms, on the terms of your poetry. When I was young and dumb (or dumber) I didn't think Dylan Thomas and Rilke were worth the effort. I was well into my thirties before I finally had the inside stuff, don't know what else to call it, to comprehend either of them. They were Modernists, still categorized as such, but not of the sort I responded to early on. They weren't like Eliot, say, or Cummings. Nor, frankly, was I much into Neruda then. Now, however, I constantly go back to all three. They do something for me Eliot never did. They get me inside, inside what?, inside existence I suppose, and in the way invariably a woman poet can where most men poets fail. I could go on and end up getting boring.

So, viewed as initial approach, categorizing by means of comparison making is a useful thing. But its limit is quickly met. I have a story about a group of journeymen traveling across the Piedmont plateau, up into the Appalachians, over its ridge, and into a hidden bowl of a valley. In which valley they meet with other similar types and a convocation occurs of older hippie types waiting for Dylan to come out of the north country. Along the way, in their approach up the ridge, they meet with some fly fishermen, anglers fishing in the shallow pools of a river. The narrator notes that the anglers have stopped in their own journey, satisfied with fishing in the shallows. That is how I view those satisfied only with comparison making and categorizing. There has to be something more, it seems to me. Something deeper, something rounder, something more essential.

There is a great story about Dylan Thomas's first big break in publishing. Editor said 'I don't know if this is poetry but it passes the Houseman test.' (a paraphrase) Editor meant Thomas's poetry gave him the shiver. He also, I'll wager, meant he couldn't tell if it was poetry because he had nothing to which to compare it.

There is something else about making comparisons and categorizations. It is problematic because too quickly it becomes self-conscious. And that to me is a sure killer. That is what spelled the death sentence for LangPo from its inception. Once an aesthetic becomes self-conscious it has to promulgate and promote a program, which is exactly what they did. With program in place there then must come the ideology, which is also what they did, with all its does and don'ts. I guess the so-called Modernists had their programs, but they were many and tended to work in tandem. Millay arguably was a Modernist, but she was at her best working in the closed form sonnet. Graves was a Modernist who, in fact, took issue with Modernists. Rilke was a Modernist, hands down the greatest German language poet since Goethe and Heine. Pound was a Modernist, the first to recognize that other Modernist, Robert Frost, whose prosodic means could not have been more different from his own. The list goes on and I could again get boring.

Zak, I don't disagree with you. My position is one of willful resitance, however. More like petulant resistance. I don't want to be typed or categorized. All I want is to make a poem, I'll hope for one, that speaks to what you know and feel essentially as much as it speaks to a street sweeper, a convict, an intellectual, a pregnant woman, a factory worker, and a dreamer. And I want the same for all poetry, which is one way of saying I want poetry back. I think what I resent the most about postmodernists, LangPo especially, what angers me the most, is that for over a quarter century, start date is 1975, they stole poetry from the scene. Collectively they are the (intellectual) Grinch. Joseph Campbell may have said it best when he said to make poetry you need to cut off your own head.

Mine is an over-reaction, I agree.

Tere
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One more thing, Zak. A footnote. I've been posting a novel in installments to the board. If interested in a longer narrative of mine go to the forum Chalkboard. Start with Open Faces One.

Tere

Last edited by Terreson, Aug/21/2011, 7:21 pm
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Chris, I've read the article again, this time more leisurely like. Quite good writing here. My only issue with the author might be he is too generous towards those who were principals of the movement and towards the program itself. My first complaint with the movemenbt has been this: show me something original postmodernism has accomplished not accomplished by so-called Modernists. I submit the answer is nothing. And I can back it up with the evidence, starting with one of your favorites, Virginia Woolf. The most I can say about the movement is that it singled out a single thread earlier woven into an entire fabric of things.

Second problem I have is this. Deconstruction, viewed as a value, is only one part of what it means to create and think. Abelard could be called a deconstructionist. So could Montaigne, Jean Cocteau, Antonin Artaud, Doestoyevsky, Lenny Bruce Said differently, you don't need to adopt the program in order to think. You just need to think. And question. And refuse the easy, facile answer no matter the area of enquiry.

The biggest problem I have with postmodernists is this. They did okay in the areas of socio-economic crit and linguistics. They actually did good and I can take from them what they have to offer in both areas. Where they fell flat on their faces and, in one case, where their effect became pernicious, damn near gratuituously destructive, was in science and in art. Their crit of science was not only absurd it was stupid. To say, for example, which they did, that Newton's theory of gravity was merely a construct of socio-economic, biased, values kind of forgets the fact that his theory of gravity got us both to the moon and back. Remember the movie, Apollo 13, when Hanks and his crew use the gravitational pull of both moon and earth to serve as a sling shot to get back home? That was real. And real, what is in nature, is what science is all about. At least as its best. They made themselves look so stupid and silly in their crit of science. As for their impact on the arts, it is hard for me to keep objective and neutral here. Thinking on it I can get angry.

We have lit upon the gentle, sensitive mind
And lost the old nonchalance of the hand;
Whether we have chosen chisel, pen, or brush,
We are but critics, or but half create,
Timid, entangled, empty and abashed,
Lacking the countenance of our friends.


That's Yeats speaking. Then there is what Campbell said. If you want to make poetry cut off your head. Poetry does not come from the head.

For postmodernists there was only the head, never the whole body, the soma. For them too the nonchalance of the hand was beaten out of the better part of a generation of artists. This last is an unpardonable sin.

They should have stuck with the original program, Saussere's critique of linguistic constructs and how they can shape values. They should not have meddled with dragons and dragon lords.

Tere
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"the postmodern would be that which, in the modenr, puts forward the unpresentable in presentation itself"


-lyotard


not bad huh? the postmodern as a part of an ever-renewing modernism. er

at least that's i guess he was shooting for
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Thanks, Arka. I just refreshed my memory of Lyotard's thinking. It amounts to this in my estimation, his thinking. What he was after got betrayed, got paled in the minds of littler thinkers who have setttled for ideology.

Tere
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Playing around on You Tube tonight. You know something? Postmodernism isn't just dead. It has always been dead. It was dead the day it was born.

Check out this video. Note, please, that every fan in the audience takes on the lyrical I as belonging to them, each and every one of them.

The whole god damn program was bogus.

[url][sign in to see URL]
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Thanks for this, Kat. I read the article on New Romanticism and liked it very much.

Chris
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Hey Chris,

Of the articles I linked to at that site, the one on New Romanticism was the one I liked best too.
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Katlin,

I'm reading through the articles. Interesting read. Even for those of us who rejected Post-modernism, or only allowed ourselves to be influenced some of the time -- not all of the time -- this material is important. It seems to me, seemed like it before I read these articles (I had spent some time in Valdosta, GA at their university library there reading Derrida & some of the language stuff) that post-Modernism was heavily influenced by the "discoveries" touching on linguistics. Poetry is always tied to the reigning philosophies of the time (sometimes at the edge of these things) although not necessarily consciously so. Or poets open the doors only enough to get the gist of what is going on without spending all their nights reading up on philosophy and linguistics. But I suppose this varies with the poet -- or writer. Thanks, I intend to read more here. Zak
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Katlin,

This morning I could not access any of the 3 articles. I read all or part of the first article a few days ago. Could not access any of them today. Thanks, Zak
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Kat and all I linked to the New Romanticism site. Immediately Norton blocked an attack, called Webframe something or another. To be sure I took a chance and linked to it again. Again and immediately I get the same Norton message. Coupling this to Zakk's inability to access the links, I've decided to delete the post with its links. Something ain't right.

Tere
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Hi Tere and all,

I accessed the [sign in to see URL] site this morning and everything seems to be in working order, but in light of the problems people had I won't repost the links. Good thing you have Norton protection Tere; I do too. emoticon

Last edited by Katlin, Nov/6/2011, 9:11 am
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Yeah. Probably best not to. But I am kind of bummed. My interest was piqued.

Tere
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I had sent this to my Seers and Seekers group:



[sign in to see URL]
Metamodernism, history, and the story of Lampe
by Editorial on Oct 30, 2011 • 12:38 pm No Comments
This month, The Germanistik in Ireland Association published their 2011 Yearbook After Postmodernism/Nach der Postmoderne. It features essays by amongst others Alan Kirby, Carl Niekerk, and NoM contributor Leonhard Herrman. It also includes a new essay by NoM founders Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker. In ‘Metamodernism, history, and the story of Lampe’, Vermeulen and van den Akker compare today’s historical logic to that of the (post)modern era. They argue that whereas both the postmodern and the modern were tied, temporally, to a Hegelian understanding of History, the metamodern links itself to a rather more Kantian conception of time. Below are some excerpts. You can buy the whole volume here.

Excerpts from T. Vermeulen & Robin van den Akker (2011), ‘Metamodernism, history, and the story of Lampe’, After Postmodernism/Nach der Postmoderne, Germanistik in Ireland Yearbook vol. 6, eds. R. MagShamrain & S. Strumper-Krobb:

[...]

“The modern and the postmodern, modernity and postmodernity, modernism and postmodernism – whatever the particularities of each of these individual terms, each of these pairings has tended to be conceived of in terms of opposition. The modern, for instance, in most accounts represents a system of knowing epitomised by teleology, universalism, Reason and truth (Enlightenment thinking in general), whereas the postmodern stands for a discourse characteristically associated with the end of History , multiplicities and language games. In similar vein, modernity supposedly refers to a political-economical reality typified by industrialisation, mass production (Fordism, Taylorism), and the metropolis, while postmodernity encompasses everything from the consumer society to the information society to edge cities and exurbs. And if modernism tries and come to terms with the chaotic order of Twentieth century life by constructing alternative forms of architecture (functionalism), cinema (intellectual montage), painting (Greenberg’s notion of autonomy, mediality, and materiality), and storytelling (streams of consciousness), postmodernism seems to simply give in to it, resulting in hedonism, eclectic pastiche, simulacra, parataxis, calculated deconstruction, the waning of affect and the disappearance of history. Indeed, if one is to believe the current tenet in handbooks and encyclopaedias, the modern, modernity and modernism can together be understood as a historical paradigm of beginnings, whereas the postmodern, postmodernity and postmodernism should be interpreted as a concurrent plethora of endings. To be sure, there are other, more nuanced studies that instantly problematise the clichés as they write them, pointing to contradictions within movements, paying particular attention to the ambiguities of texts. But by and large, the modern and the postmodern, modernity and postmodernity, and modernism and postmodernism, are represented as systems of thinking, doing and making that are as conflicting as transcendence and immanence, idealism and materialism.

Yet whatever their significant differences, the modern and the postmodern, modernity and postmodernity, and yes, even modernism and postmodernism share something of a spatio-temporal logic – at least by implication: Hegel’s philosophy of history. For about two hundred years, Hegel has been some sort of a “Place de l’Etoile” of philosophy; a monumental crossing to traverse, time and again, while moving from Enlightenment reasoning to modern thinking to postmodern discourse. The notes, sketches and outlines of his unitary system have been both a (idealist) philosopher’s stone or a (materialist) stepping-stone for modern dialecticians and “the central exhibit in the postmodern museum of Enlightenment illusions.” Evidently, the notion of the ‘End of History’ is at the core of this lineage.

[...]

The worldview of dialectical idealism associated with liberalism and the worldview of dialectical materialism aligned with socialism have animated most of the history of modernity. Fascism – the worldview that has so far been absent from our description – must obviously be included here too, as it is caught up as much in the dialectics of Reason as it is in the dialectics of Praxis. Whatever their differences, liberalism, socialism and fascism share the assumption that Infinite Ideas can be actualised, Absolute Ideals can be realised, Grand Designs can be implemented and Utopia can, and will, materialise. They are convinced that History will End – and that a people of their own time are to write its Ending.

It suffices, for our purposes, to state that these convictions and assumptions translate into decidedly modern attitudes such as (blind) fanaticism, (innocent) naivety and (calculated) optimism; the very same sentiments, it can be argued, that have ultimately come to haunt the modern spatiality of canons, colonies and camps.

[...]

Tellingly, if an affirmation of Hegel’s convictions translated to fanaticism, enthusiasm and naivety in the period of modernity, their negation led to widespread apathy, irony, and relativism during the years of postmodernity. However much the two paradigms may differ from one to the other indeed (and however contradictory they may be themselves), however diverse their aims and discourses, each remains to a large extent tied, remarkably, to a particular temporality: Hegel’s philosophy of History.

[...]

Kant outlined his understanding of History across a number of essays that have come to be known as the fourth critique (after the triptych of the Critique of Pure Reason, Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgment). Central to this critique is his essay Idea For a Universal History. The essay’s first sentences may both account for the confusion between Kant and Hegel’s philosophies of History, and explicate the fundamental differences between them:

Whatever concept one may hold, from a metaphysical point of view, concerning the freedom of the will, certainly its appearances, which are human actions, like every other event are determined by universal laws. However obscure their causes, history, which is concerned with narrating these appearances, permits us to hope that if we attend to the play of freedom of the human will in the large, we may be able to discern a regular movement in it, and that what seems complex and chaotic in the single individual may be seen from the standpoint of the human race as a whole to be a steady and progressive though slow evolution of its original endowment.

In the first sentence, Kant argues, much like Hegel, that natural laws are the single condition and structuring principle of human life. In the second sentence however he suggests that we cannot know these laws and must therefore assume knowledge of them by historicising, that is narrating, that is, indeed, imagining hierarchies and relations between and beyond the human actions they supposedly structure. Kant thus at once says: there is a purpose to History; and: we imagine there to be a purpose to History but it might not necessarily be so. Konigsberg’s most celebrated philosopher does not contradict himself; but he does not confirm the previous either: the first, schematic statement (there is a purpose) is instantly deconstructed by a second (but, well, it might only be a purpose to our mind).

As a number of scholars have pointed out, rhetoric and choice of words are crucial here (as they are indeed in the other critiques). Kant rarely phrases his sentences as a decree, nor does he ever discuss phenomena directly. Instead he uses speculative words such as “hope”, “(as’) if”, and “may” to structure his line of reasoning, circumventing his topic matter, implicitly turning every argument into an analogy. The cultural philosopher Eva Schaper has henceforth called Kant’s rhetorics aesthetic:

Aesthetic thought accepts implicitly that it deals with what is fictitious; it accepts that we are dealing with constructions and devices, with things which look as if they were something or other, with statements which read as if they were saying or asserting something, with configurations which appear as if their conjunction made a point.

If we follow Schaper’s reasoning, each of Kant’s arguments thus, merely by way of analogy, becomes an argument about a fiction. According to this persuasive interpretation, Kant never speaks about History as such; he speaks about what History might be. Thus, if Kant later suggests, again in a tone of voice seemingly not unlike Hegel’s, that

…the history of mankind can be seen, in the large, as the realization of Nature’s secret plan to bring forth a perfectly constituted state as the only condition in which the capacities of mankind can be fully developed, and also bring forth the external relation among states which is perfectly adequate to this end.

one should be careful not to take his words on face-value. For while Kant says that the history of mankind is the realisation of a “secret plan”, he also says that it is only insofar as it is “seen” as such. As he clarifies his position elsewhere: ‘‘[e]ach. . . people, as if following some guiding thread, go toward a natural but to each of them unknown goal.”

It may have become apparent that Schaper’s reading of Kant’s rhetorical style enables an interpretation of Kant’s philosophy of History that diverges radically from that of Hegel. For Hegel, History is mankind’s narrative progressing dialectically towards a predetermined telos. According to Kant, as Curtis Peters explains, “we may view human history as if mankind had a life narrative which describes its self-movement toward its full rational/social potential . . . to view history as if it were the story of mankind’s development.”That is to say, we may view history as the description of natural laws, but we may as well not. Consequentially then, if for Hegel History would eventually come to an end, for Kant, History coming to an end (the state he referred to as “Perpetual Peace” or the “Kingdom of ends”), i.e. something that might not exist to begin with coming to an end, would be a contradiction in terms. To say it again: for Kant, humankind, a people, are not really going toward a natural but unknown goal, but they (need to) pretend they do so that they progress morally as well as politically. Metamodernism adheres to Kant’s philosophy of History in that it moves for the sake of moving, attempts in spite of its inevitable failure; it seeks forever for a truth that it never expects to find. Indeed, because it never finds it, it never stops its search.”

Notes on metamodernism is edited by Nadine Fessler, Robin van den Akker, and Timotheus Vermeulen. If you wish to contact the editors or any of the contributors, email us at mtmdrn at gmail dot com.

Notes on metamodernism is a webzine documenting trends and tendencies across aesthetics and culture that can no longer be understood by a postmodern vernacular but require another idiom - one that we have come to call metamodernism. Written by academics and critics from around the globe, Notes on metamodernism features observations on anything from the Berlin art scene to US cinema, from London fashion shows to network cultures.
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(Libra, seems we have cross-posted. I found the same article and posted it to a related thread along with my thoughts. Bringing it here for ease of conversation.)


I don't know if this is the link Kat supplied. But the writing on this thing of metamodernism is clear and precise. This in itself a nice change.

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I've read the article. Seems I am at variance with this new movement, just as was the case vis a vis the postmodern in art. Nor do I buy the definition of Modernism, here, as a movement that, above all, concerned itself with universals. The point of the Modernists, in my view, getting missed. Whether or not James Joyce concerned himself with tracking down the universal doesn't much matter to me. What matters more is that he mapped out the interiority of experience. His Dublin, for example, is a real and particular city caught within a particular frame of time, a time span of 24 hours. Is his Molly Bloom a universal portrait of women? I don't know. But she is one of the most fully realized, may be the most fully realized woman in all of literature. I could go on with examples of a Modern artist making concrete and particular experience and doing so by breaking with conventions inherited from the past. But that is a side note.

I've read a little of both Kant and Hegel, enough to know my inclinations put me in closer proximity to Kant. That said, he was a philosopher. There is a reason Nietzsche called himself the last philosopher. He got, intuited, that, in the end, philosophy can only explain itself. It can never explain experience. Freud proved the point when he realized that 99.9% of human behavior is irrational, not based on reason. That right there rang the death bell for philosophy. But this too is a side note.

Here is the main of the problem I have with these self-consciously proceeding movements. Or Isms. Poetry certainly, I'll hazard to say all art, is ahistorical. It is not produced by history. It doesn't concern itself with history except to the extent the historical is viewed as material means to an end. That end being art itself. Viewing the relationship of art to history otherwise is putting the cart before the horse and makes for a fundamental misunderstanding. It is also, strictly speaking, Hegellian. Hegel subsumed everything, all experience to the forces of history which, in his view, were governed by the principal of, what he called, dialectical materialism. The fall of communism proved Hegel wrong. History does not evolve into an eventual perfect state.

That is all I know, really, that art is ahistorical. But Keats said it best with his lines ending his Ode to a Grecian Urn. "Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." For fun read the poem in full. Note that it is an ancient artifact belonging to a foreign time that incites the poem that brings him to his final lines. May not prove my point but it certainly illustrates it.

Something else. My suspicion is that this so-called metamodernism, while looking to replace or supercede postmodernist perspectives, works within the same conceptual framework of putting definitions first, artistic expression second. Yeah. That is at the root of my mistrust. It just doesn't sit right in the reptilian, lizard portion of my brain. Same portion that keeps me breathing without having to think.

Tere
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I'm going to risk reinstating one of the three links I orginally posted, the one Chris and I liked best:

New Romanticism

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The article begins with this quote by Novalis:

"The world must be romanticized. In this way its original meaning will be rediscovered. To romanticize is nothing but a qualitative heightening. In this process the lower self becomes identified with a better self. (…) Insofar as I present the commonplace with significance, the ordinary with mystery, the familiar with the seemliness of the unfamiliar and the finite with the semblance of the infinite, I romanticize it."
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Art may not be produced by history; but art is a creature evolving with its time. The ideas in the air of any given era are the ideas, the air, that inform the artist. When other historical eras are incorporated into artistic expression, they are reinterpreted through the lens of the artist's time, the paradigm through which experience is framed.
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Libra, let me confess to my unredeemable perversity. If art evolved, then, so would the artist. I am not sure I am a more evolved poet than was Dante, or Ovid, or Homer. This is why I have decided art is ahistorical. Something else. Does the artist draw on the "ideas in the air"? Or do those ideas, even zeitgeist, draw on the artist? I could make a case for the latter.

Tere
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Would the last postmodernist please turn out the lights?

CULTURE SHOCK: Postmodernism means picking over the corpse of culture, using irony as the main tool. But in a time of economic crisis, art about art can feel irrelevant and disengaged, writes FINTAN O'TOOLE


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I enjoyed this article about po mo and the notion it engendered of po mo artists being battlefield ghouls.

But what happens after postmodernism? Does culture pick over the bones of those who picked over the corpse of modernism? Or does it find the courage to be uncool, to come down from its mountain of superior disinterest and engage with a crisis that doesn’t feel particularly ironic? Could we be due a new Romantic age of passionate expression and social engagement?
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I dunno Kat, I find this a devilish dilemma:

What happened is that while the early postmodernists were attacking modernism from below, corporate culture was all too happy to attack modernism from above. The revolutionaries disliked modernism for its arrogance and distance; the counter-revolutionaries disliked it for its seriousness and idealism. The combination was irresistibly powerful, but it created a profound sense of cross purposes. The artistic radicals were hoping to create something more playful, more humane, more open to the idea of human culture as a palimpsest with many layers of accumulated images. But their movement was quickly taken up by a corporate culture that just adored all that superior disinterest. And where all of this ends up is with a subversive movement that has nothing left to subvert, a protest that denies the possibility of protest.

In the end, consumer and celebrity culture defeated postmodernism by embracing it. When everything is ironic, nothing is ironic. If the movement was born on March 15th, 1972, it surely died on November 11th, 2011, when our very own Nama sold Andy Warhol’s silkscreen painting Dollar Sign in New York, having taken it from the property developer Derek Quinlan in lieu of unpaid debts. The Dollar Sign paintings were classic postmodern statements of the irony of a consumer aesthetic in which what we see in a work of art is the money it’s worth. Where’s the room for irony when the possession of such an image is embraced by one of the Celtic Tiger’s poster boys as a sign of his arrival?


Maybe this is why the Occupy Wall Street movement remains so ill-defined. Resistance to obliteration through assimilation. Has the dominant culture become so adept at absorbing all comers? If so, what then?

Chris

Last edited by Christine98, Jan/31/2012, 10:03 am
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"Maybe this is why the Occupy Wall Street movement remains so ill-defined. Resistance to obliteration through assimilation. Has the dominant culture become so adept at absorbing all comers? If so, what then?"

Interesting observation about OWS, Chris. Now that you mention it, I think some of the tea partiers feel the same resistance: "We will not be assimilated." Of course, some folks believe the tea party has not only been co-opted by, but was created and sponsored by, big money interests. And yet so many in the media have decried OWS because their message isn't cohesive and coherent enough to be a real force. You raise a good point: Would codifying the message kill it? Too much codifiying could lead to commodifying and would allow the movement to be easily sterotyped and dismissed.

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Returning to your first thought, Kat, I'm sure we are "due a new Romantic age of passionate expression and social engagement," long over due.

Chris
Feb/6/2012, 9:21 am Link to this post Send Email to Christine98   Send PM to Christine98
 
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A Suicidal Tendency in the Humanities
by Raymond Tallis


"The trends in the 60s onwards had many names as fashion succeeded fashion – and structuralism and poststructuralism and a variety of postmodernisms jostled for position but they reached their climax in a somewhat nebulous academic pursuit called Theory with a capital T. What is important for our present concern is that Theory, like biologism, was anti-humanist. The ‘I’ was a mere substrate for the operation of unconscious forces. This was not presented as a melancholy discovery but as a cause for somewhat malicious glee.

While Theory is out of fashion, the anti-humanist impulse within the humanities, taking the human out of the humanities, most certainly is not. Some of the drivers that led to Theory are still present and relevant to my main themes. The waning of one kind of anti-humanism left a lot of cynicism about human beings (including their claims to conscious agency, to knowing what they are doing), overstanding, jargon-hunger and so on unused and unsatisfied. Most dismaying of all is something that was evident in Theory: an uncritical credulity about the disciplines that are co-opted in the search for new approaches. This time round it is biology as applied to the human person."

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