ModernismModern at its most basic can be seen todescribe the present or contemporary“noun 1 - modern ideas, methods, orstyles.2 a movement in the arts or religion thataims to break with traditional forms orideas.” Oxford English DictionaryModernism can be seen to have come inpart from the enlightenment, a rejection oftradition, in some circumstances inReligion and a belief in reason, rationalityand science, progress and technologicaladvance.Modernism asserted that man is selfknowing, uniﬁed and independent.
Modernism + ArtModernitys belief in progress andtechnology and a rejection of traditionalforms of representation can be seen to bereﬂected in many movements in art in theearly 20th century including neoplasticism,cubism and bauhaus whose focus onform, functionally and clear geometricalstructure echo the rhythm and feel oftechnology and the modern city. Theo van Doesburg, Arithmetische The Guitar Player, Pablo PicassoModernism made clear distinctions Compositiebetween high and low culture (art andpop) and saw only high culture of beingworthy of appreciation and critique.Art was always viewed as a unique andﬁnished work authenticated by the artistand validated as art by agreed set ofstandards Piet Mondrian, Composition with Yellow, Blue, and Red,
PostmodernismPostmodernism “holds that there is no truth, no basicright or wrong, nothing good or bad, nothing evil ornoble, nothing moral or immoral.” James Dobson“The Postmodern is distinguished by the idea that thereis not one but many truths and that the notion of puretruth is an illusion” Sturcken and CartwrightWhilst the preﬁx post implies after modernism this is notentirely true whilst it is often used as term to describe aperiod after modernism the two can be seen as runningconcurrently by some accounts.The very notion of viewing history in a linear mannerdeﬁned by speciﬁc periods is in-itself a notionpostmodernism would resist.
Postmodernism“That postmodernism is indeﬁnable is a truism” http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/postmodernism/“Simplifying to the extreme, I deﬁne postmodern as incredulity toward metanarratives.” LyotardMetanarratives or master or grand narratives can be seen as forms of theory or beliefs than explain thefunctioning of society or the world, eg science, religion, marxism.To deﬁne postmodernism as a rejection of theories can be seen as a contradiction, a theory whichrejects itself.Lyotard’s point focused on postmodernism’s questioning of metanarratives, questioning things that hadpreviously be seen as absolute.“(Postmodernism) can be described as a set of critical, strategic and rhetorical practices employingconcepts such as difference, repetition, the trace, the simulacrum, and hyperreality to destabilize otherconcepts such as presence, identity, historical progress, epistemic certainty, and the univocity ofmeaning.” Stanford
Postmodernism + presencePresence refers to the idea of immediate experience,our experience of the world through our senses asbeing real and correct a fundamental aspect of themodernist view of man.Postmodernism challenges this notion, arguing that thenotion of immediate experience is a myth thateverything we experience is negotiated through socialconstructs, images (and the ideologies behind them)and language.The idea of a uniﬁed self is furthered challenged bypostmodernism replaced with a sense of fragmentationand decentered self; multiple, conﬂicting identities.
Pop CulturePostmodernism erases or blurs much ofthe distinctions between Art and Popculture which were clearly deﬁned bymodernism.Popular culture and art becomeintertwined and of equal value.Furthermore the notion of Art as a uniqueand ﬁnished work authenticated by theartist is challenged.Copy as art- Warhol, remix,detournement, appropriation.Process or concept as art - Yoko Ono,Bruce Nauman, Franco B, Tracey EminIntertextuality, images or texts intertwinewith each other rather than being seen asseparate entities. - the web, hypertext,parodies, satire, remix
ReﬂexivityThe value of process and concept foundin postmodern art can also be found inadvertising (and everywhere else)Reﬂexivity can be seen as a processwhich draws attention to the process itself,in relation to media it describes theprocess by which a ﬁlm or televisionprogram draws attention to itself,reminding the spectator of its textualityand status as a media construct.Reﬂexivity is not an exclusivelypostmodern strategy ﬁlmmakers such asDziga Vertov included the means ofproduction in there work.
Simulacra and SimulationFrench Philosopher Jean Baudrillard has continued the rejection of ‘truth’ and ‘reality’ further arguingthat there is essentially no reality but a reality where a simulation of the real has become the real.“The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth--it is the truth which conceals that there isnone. The simulacrum is true.”In Simulacra and Simulation Baudrillard identiﬁes three types of simulacra and identiﬁes each with ahistorical period:1. The image is clearly an artiﬁcial placemarker for the real item, associated with the pre-modern.2. Distinctions between image and reality break down due to the proliferation of mass-producedcopies. The items ability to imitate reality threatens to replace the original version, associated with theindustrial Revolution3. Simulacrum precedes the original and the distinction between reality and representation breaksdown. There is only the simulacrum, associated with the postmodern ageWhere could we see examples of this in what we have spoken about over the module?
HyperrealityBaudrillard attributes the proliferation ofsimulacrum to a number of areas including mediawhich generates a need for goods through adsetc, the value of goods being based on exchangerather than use, capitalism, urbanization andlanguage.Hyperreality relates to a society which is unable todistinguish between reality and simulacrum.In Society of the spectacle Guy Debord arguesthat the saturation of social spaces with massmedia has left us deﬁned by the spectacle ratherthat the real. A world where we desire the imagenot the original.Hyperreality blurs what is real and what is virtual.Consider ways in which this can be seen?
Postmodern ConsumerIn many ways if modernism can be seento share its roots with the birth ofcapitalism and industrialization (though itwas often in strict opposition to theseideals) then postmodernism can be seenas being the product of capitalism andpost industrialization.Postmodernism addresses the consumerin a knowing manner addressing thepostmodern consumer as media savvyand aware of the process of advertising.Advertising in a postmodern age oftenspeaks reﬂexively to the consumer, talkingabout the very process of advertisingrather than the advert its self.Branding can be seen to operate in apostmodern manner, explain how?
Further ReadingSTURKEN, M., & CARTRIGHT, L. 2001. Practices of Looking- AnIntroduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Featherstone, M. 1994. Consumer Culture & Postmodernism. SageLyotard, J. Postmodernism: A report on knowledgeBaudrillard, J. Simulacra and simulation. Michiganhttp://nmc.loyola.edu/intro/postmod/table.htm