Week 13 – Postmodernist Thought

Week 13 – Postmodernist Thought - Week 13...

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Week 13 – Postmodernist Thought 02/03/2009 03:56:00 Week 13: Postmodernist Thought Postmodernism is seen as a counter-position to modernism, especially in the  later manifestations of modernism known as structuralism.  Which means that  postmodernism is oftentimes associated with poststructuralism Both concepts of postmodernism and poststructuralism coexist, however,  postmodern refers more to an age, whereas poststructuralism is more of a theoretical  movement. Postmodernism is seen more as an historical condition within which are social,  political, and cultural agendas and resonances. It is reflective of a mentality of “anything goes”, therefore nothing works, or of a  questioning of the modernist ideals of progress, reason, and science. Theorists claim that the postmodern condition signals the death of ideology. It heralds a new skepticism about the modernist belief in the supremacy of the  western world, the legitimacy of science to legislate the construction and function of  gender, and the advocacy of high art over popular culture. Postmodernism reacts against modernism’s optimistic belief in the benefits of  science and technology to human kind. Postmodernism represents the erosion of the distinction between high art and  popular culture.  It is a conjunctural term at the interface between artifact and the new  moment of capitalism. The postmodern looks back, is retrospective, is not defined as other, but as  postmodern, as coming after. In its lack of history, it rejects history, and because it has  none if its own – only that of others – the postmodern stands eternally fixed in a series  of presents. Response is aestheticism, art for art’s sake, as an end in and of itself which led  to a self-sufficient formalism. In relation to the contemporary cultural aesthetic, then, the postmodern adopts  two modes: In its mainstream mode, it manifests itself through mannerism and stylization,  through pastiche – imitation of what is past. In its oppositional mode – that is, in its despair in the nothingness of the abyss –  it turns to parody, an ironization of style, form, and content. Whether mainstream or oppositional, the postmodern aesthetic relies on four  tightly interrelated sets of concepts: Simulation, which is either parody or pastiche
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Prefabrication – the visual arts see the past as a supermarket source that the  artists raid for whatever she or he wants. Tarantino’s movies are a great example of  this.
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