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Explain it like I'm five: Modernism vs. Postmodernism

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mr. Dictator, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    I mean, I get that postmodernism is the idea that there are no absolute truths, blah blah blah, but everything else just seems like jargon.

    Do people actually buy into postmodernism? Like, real people? I'm not discussing the pseudointellectuals who will buy into anything that sounds incomprehensible to their parents. Things like that must have plagued the modernists just as often.

    Did pomo start in the 70s? The 60s? I've heard both defined as "the" beginning, but I really see many elements of modernism in the 60s, and even some in the 70s.

    Sometimes it all seems like both were spearheaded by artists who chose to use other human's minds as their canvas.

    I've seen postmodernism described as an advanced (possibly mutated) form of modernism as well, and the logic seemed to make sense, but they seem so contradicting of each other in every aspect.

    Is postmodernism just the absolutes of modernism used against it? IE, there are absolutely no absolutes?

    Feel free to fill this thread with jargon, if you don't know the answer. I don't know if anyone really does.
     
  2. Tahuti

    Tahuti Writing Deity

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    Postmodernism is indeed about relativity. Everything is relative, not absolute. That doesn't necessarily mean there aren't any truths according to Postmodernism, but at the very least it means that virtually no one is able comprehend the truth because his mind is clouded by personal tastes and interests. Modernism by contrast is about absolute truth, believes people are able to comprehend it and defines revealing the truth as its main goal - which Postmodernism believes to be futile.

    In the arts, Postmodernism can manifest as juxtaposition of anything Modernist with the Classical and what-not. But it can pose as extremely modernist (i.e. reductio ad absurdum) to make caricature modernism, hence the confusion between Postmodernism and Modernism. It is really hard to describe Postmodernism really: Most just only know what Postmodernism is when they see it. Modernism on the other hand always strives for progress, which according to Modernism can be measured and objectively defined, and this message is a recurring motive in anything Modernist (art, music, architecture).
     
  3. Floating Pants

    Floating Pants Drunk on Life

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    Here's some notes I got from my professor talking about modernism and postmodernism:

    Since I've been given that knowledge, I've been going under the assumption that postmodernism is simply the search of laughter and happiness above all else. I believe it probably started with the 1950's cartoons, and then that generation growing up with the late-night comedy shows that sprouted up in the 70's. How right am I here?
     
  4. Smellincoffee

    Smellincoffee Trekkie At Large

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    Relatedly, I'd be curious about what delineates modern and postmodern architecture. The two words seem to be used interchangeably sometimes, though that might be confusion on my end because to my mind, neither 'style' looks remotely attractive. As near as I can tell, modernist structures eschew form in favor of function, producing such lovely sights as big concrete boxes with few windows and no ornamentation whatsoever ("brutalism"), while postmodern builds decide to turn architecture into art projects, creating...standing structures that don't remotely resemble buildings, but which are more like giant abstract shapes sitting on the landscape which happen to have doors, electricity, air conditioning, and a hollow interior that people can use.
     
  5. Marla_Singer

    Marla_Singer United in diversity

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    Someone believes the world is getting post-modernist once he reaches an age at which his own perception of the world is getting outdated.

    He believes he's still modern, he's actually an old hat.
     
  6. illram

    illram Deity

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    OK, explained as I would to a 5 year old.

    "Before people had cameras, people could only paint pictures of the sunset and nice things, and so we had to pay people to paint those things. But then we got cameras that let people just take a picture of the sunset, so no one needed the painters anymore. But the painters needed money to buy nice toys for their kids, like you, so the painters had to think of new things to make that you couldn't take a picture of! That's why you are looking at a urinal in a gallery."

     
  7. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I thought that Dada was a modern movement. :confused:
     
  8. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    But didn't Impressionism come about before the camera?
     
  9. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    Nah, Impression was late 1870s onwards, and to a significant extent in reaction to the camera. The idea was basically that the realism of traditional art was no longer necessary because photography could do that better than they ever could, so the role of the artist was to allow the interpretative element of art to come to the fore.
     
  10. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    Oh yeah, forgot for a second how old cameras were. I was thinking more of the mass availability of cameras, I think.
     
  11. Algeroth

    Algeroth 8 and 1/2

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    Posmodernism in art is IMHO about the loss of any shared canon. In the premodern art, you had some cannon that was widely accepted and that answered what is beautiful and what is ugly, what message is artist conveying and so on.

    The modern avant-garde art movements tried to free themselves from outdated old cannons and create their own that was usually expressed in form of at least one manifesto. Even if their cannons were not shared with majority of population as in previous eras, their cannons were accessible to the public, one could understand why the dadaist use collage or what is so beautiful on futurists obsession with cars and weapons.

    In postmodernism, you don't have anything like that. The link between artist, his work and spectator is broken. Artist can have something on his mind when he is creating his work,but you no longer need it to interpret it, you are free to project your own meanings and standards of beauty into it. Everything flows, author is dead.
     
  12. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    Yes, but...

    Damien Hirst :vomit:
     
  13. ParkCungHee

    ParkCungHee Deity

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    Which made realism a hell of a waste of 300 some odd years.
     
  14. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    If you figured this out, then just maybe you may have post-modern down?
     
  15. Traitorfish

    Traitorfish The Tighnahulish Kid

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    I don't follow? :confused:
     
  16. luiz

    luiz Trendy Revolutionary

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    Post-modernism addresses issues of significance and syntax. There is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of ontological binarism.

    We can also use post-modernist logic to criticize capitalism. If one examines capitalist theory, one is faced with a choice: either reject neotextual materialism or conclude that society has objective value. If dialectic desituationism holds, we have to choose between Habermasian discourse and the subtextual paradigm of context. It could be said that the subject is contextualised into a textual nationalism that includes truth as a reality. In a sense, the premise of the subtextual paradigm of context states that reality comes from the collective unconscious.

    I don't think I can be any clearer.
     
  17. timtofly

    timtofly One Day

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    When something modern loses it's meaning, it is post modern.

    The camara was a modern tool, with a specific purpose. Now it is just another tool that has a multitude of uses. It has lost it's original meaning, and has become integrated into everyday life. Mr. Dictator was looking at the camera as a modern item, "forgetting" due to the fact that it has been integrated into the mass market and has lost it's original intent - post modern.

    Or you can go with luiz.
     
  18. Mr. Dictator

    Mr. Dictator A Chain-Smoking Fox

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    The last two posts made me what. Props to Luiz, though, for going the satire route.

    So what does CFC see as the heir to postmodernism? The general consensus I've read is that everyone who really cares knows that postmodernism is a dead end, but there hasn't been a clear successor.

    This "metamodernism" has caught my eye, as it seems very refreshing, as far as I've grasped it, but unfortunately, it's name is even worse than postmodernism.

    I feel that postmodernism has contributed to society, but it's full application is absurd.
     
  19. Integral

    Integral Can't you hear it?

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    It's only half satire. The first paragraph is from an actual postmodernist, Félix Guattari. The second is gibberish and comes from a postmodernist essay generator.

    --

    I may write on modernism and postmodernism in the Japanese context tomorrow, if you still care for other perspectives. :)
     
  20. aelf

    aelf Ashen One

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    So far most of the descriptions in this thread of the post-modernist 'movement' here has been closer to describing modernism. The popular conception of relativism is modernist. AFAIK, there is no single strand of post-modernist movement. Post-modernism consists of reactions and, one could say, refinements to the points made by modernism. Most people who talk about post-modernism as if it's a thing don't know much if anything about it.
     

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