Re: [-empyre-] Is Modernity our Antiquity? -a brief historicaldivertissement

Dear all,

Sorry of my Anglophone resource as a pity;-)

Can be we have to regard the side of dialectical materialist conception of
the modern avant-gardes that refers to History for a part and to the Party
for another part. 

But anyway in the modernity as the creation of a message by the venal or
spiritual power using or manifesting Technique and as or through the
communication as tribute to the progressive knowledge as/ or medium of
orders (or of commands) to people -or public as society- : that is the

As Christina noticed, the modern story integrating a spectacular disposition
of technique begins in the Middle Age. Specially Cathedrals which received
the destiny of illustrated books from the modern technique associating the
elevation of the building and the progressive power of human destiny on
earth as a medium to reach the sublimation of divine (macrocosm and God).
Sculpture was the representative iconography integrating as microcosm the
religion and the new society to the people who did not know how to read
writings - there were seasons, calendars, jobs, administration, power,
religious and venal rituals in the cities as common culture, and so on...
But as a progress (which is all different from antique civilizations which
repeated the same to search Eternity).

For a part we recall that technical progress is dialectically associated to
the social progress till the Christian Bible until The capital in a same
materialist vision ; from the part of Augustin as a former Gnostic when he
invented utopia as the house of God not being built on earth, but if we
regard in pertinence his text to another one on the expansive progress, the
title of which is Ecclesiast, it means that the human society would try to
recover the divine model on earth with the means of the realization of
Utopia by working and inventing a singular power of the supra nature (the
technique) to credit an equal model of Justice and of Peace thanks
abundance. Same way the synthesis of the dialectical disposition between
Utopia and Progress is given by the text the title of which is Apocalypse.
Instead of according a moral disposition of the end from this text, it is
possible to understand in it a  predictable metaphor of the philosophical
modern concept of "Radical evil" (that ideas overpass their ethic structural
pertinence when they reach the extreme point where they cannot be more
developed by the mind itself) ; this can show a convergent atheist point
where the realization of utopia cannot be realized on earth BUT its
contrary. This being availably pertinent as now we know precisely of

( Entropy can be a key in matter of interference in cognitive structures of
common process between both material and virtual process of executive
decisions subjected to random strategies - the same in the living process as
other human organizations based on a concept of technical progress -even
expert administrative- ).

Anyway Technique and Sciences as they are both the methods and the fields,
and the matter and the thought of development to the expanding and
economical production, ask a progress from themselves dialectically linked
to the social progress out of themselves -both too in this concept of

In this strategy stays the modern Avant Gardes in every field but more in
Art and Culture to the promotional ideas front of the creative happy few or
to the large people (it depends of the choices of the Avant gardes) ; their
way is to know of the new and of the past such as to decide or to show of
opening renewal next time front of the advanced creative or front of the
people...  by the way of creative demonstrations and expressive works. This
way can be free as post-romantics of Art to Art wishing to be themselve
apart of the society as "parias"- Fluxus was on this way apart not as parias
but as pioneer of experimental directions.

It can be more not from a choice but from an obligation of contracts
depending of the power of the Party to communicate its political or
economical line, that can be good for the communist society but never
free;-) The new vocation of cultural and art of avant gardes in the
"vectoral" society of nowadays is from a hand to be bought by the lobbies of
techno sciences or by the vectors to active their visibility of marks and of
research returning money to Art. From another hand other artists advance the
popular projects from the decision of politics to their cities.

In matter of politics it depends of the power ; you know of constructivism,
of deconstructivism, and on social realism in USSR History but we never ask
of the same movement of artists going to fascist powers -as Futurists and
any Moderns made this historical choice in Italy, that could appear (but a
fake) a pervert exception regarding degenerated Art concept of the Nazis.
Vitalism was the same move from everywhere of the West; it was a concept of
beauty of the sporting and healthy body in the modern architecture of the
cities represented by the late book "Apollo in the democracy".. But Gropius
was coming from the beginning of the century and was called by Van de Velde
to order the new Bauhaus as a tribute to ethical progress of Industrial
production for the grateful people. Where was merely any differences between
all regarding the question of advanced modernity or just differences of the
means ? 

The ethic question is both that one of the market and of the human rights -
notably of freedom - to the contemporaneous artists (doubly post-modern when
they still ask of modernity as this implicitly asks of avant garde), and
that one of the progress but at first it is more of the progress to common :
which progress can we pretend to bring for the best to public human
societies of nowadays? Is technical progress stays linked to social progress
in nowadays? From this point: who could still work to techno sciences or new
political concept claiming it is to the best for the public, while knowing
of the ethical cognitive problems that the past and the new History of
modernity has learned to us?

And if they are: which ones?

I understand Thomas question if we regard the sense of modernity nowadays:
what do we ask, what do we think, in modernity, when we say of contemporary
acts as still possibly modern, at this point of the anthropologic an
ethologic human history of the progress from the Judeo Christianist excess
of the West in matter of productive working and money from the historical
time of progress since Christ until Marx Lénine and Mao -through Hitler ( to
follow Gropius -sorry: read Speer "In the heart of the 3rd Reich" on his job
near the Nazi power that Elias Canetti himself quote same way that Hannah
Arendt on Eichmann : "ordinary" and "performing" evils that would be
followed by other effects after their own time after the war) Mussolini or
(Eva) Peron...

Really I apologize of my so bad anglophone language


On 3/03/06 15:09, "Dirk Vekemans" <> probably wrote:

> Yes and welcome to the discussion Thomas, i think your remark is very
> essential to an understanding of the questions as they are put to us,
> because they refer primarily to modernity as an aspiration detectable within
> our feeling of contemporaneity, asking whether we still acknowledge  the
> promise of what is modern as leading to 'a common planetary horizon'. I
> immediately took this to refer to questions of validation of Modernist art,
> but there is no need to do so, although i think it would be hard to ignore
> the accomplishments of Modernism and its continuing power to define the
> field of modernity in our vision.
> So, without any irony,  you could also take an industrially designed tea-pot
> from the sixties as a starting point, asking yourself whether we still want
> to be modern like that tea-pot wanted to appeal to the aspirations of
> modernity present in the individuals taken 'en masse' by the marketing
> machine of that time. And, certainly in graphic design, you must be engaged
> in a constant re-defining of your personal style, taking different positions
> with regard to whether/how you want your design to express a feeling of the
> contemporary, whether what makes your design look up-to-date is a
> 'modernist'projection or a nostalgic mirroring of a dissimulated past or a
> crack in the surface of marketability or a replacement of all the 'or's'here
> with an 'and'.
> As such any question of modernity may be more of a design question, with or
> without taking up the threads of the problematic status of the design/art
> terms. The question reformulated to you as a designer would then perhaps
> refer (again back to what wasn't immediately included) to the corpus of
> modernist design as an 'antique' authority to be matched or emulated in your
> present work. Thus, do you think of what you see from modernist design in
> that way?
> Back in the art reservoir, i very much agree with Lucio's claim
> (strengthened by Christiane's doubt that present works can be analysed in
> the suggested terms) that we are more interested in the methods of the
> Moderns, recycling those as creative processes instead of attempting to dig
> up and take up the thread of their motivations where post-modernism has
> buried them, or trying to emulate their works like a capitalised Modernity/
> Antiquity parallel would suggest.
> There wasn't any capitalisation in the original question though, more a
> redoubling of the abstraction suggesting that we are riding the hypermodern
> drive, referring to our modern aspirations as an antique body-of-movements
> that we, hyping the hyperthing, attempt to surpass. I tend to agree with
> Christiane here that such an incremental flight, a continuation of levelling
> out to the limits of abstraction is hardly the umbrella used by most
> contemporary artist. As such that remains to be discussed, along with other
> lines initiated here.
> dv
>> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
>> Van:
>> [] Namens Christina McPhee
>> Verzonden: vrijdag 3 maart 2006 3:47
>> Aan: soft_skinned_space
>> Onderwerp: Re: [-empyre-] Is Modernity our Antiquity? -a
>> brief historicaldivertissement
>> Actually, the remark Thomas is responding to, is from Lucio
>> Agra -  I just forwarded it.
>> But this is interesting.  Modernity... isn't this an idea that goes
>> back to the 'battle of the Ancients and the Moderns'   -- that
>> politically charged theme of Absolutist France, to the
>> beginning of Romanticism?  The moderns were the Romantics:
>> Gericault, The Raft of the Medusa. Or could someone (Thomas?)
>> correct me?
>> And even further, we may imagine that modernity as a style of
>> consciousness begins with the very Italian sense of time to
>> which Thomas here alludes:  a sense of time as a series of
>> feedback loops so that, for example, you, the artist in the
>> Renaissance,  could 'recapture' the greatness of the imagined
>> "Ancients" and here I mean the dreamed of paintings of
>> Praxiteles, the extant sculptures in the rubble of the Roman
>> Forum: you could revive these formal gestures as a pure
>> referent to the world of Antiquity, thought of as a
>> pluralist, pagan, non heterogenous mash. Ironically you could
>> revive them to glorify your patrons (Pope Clement, the
>> Medicis, the Sforzas) within a superficially Christian visual
>> dramatic narrative; ah, but all this becomes very convoluted
>> with the coming of the Counterreformation in Italian painting
>> so I should leave off here. Just thinking:  that we plunder
>> "Modernity" as it were, as if, we were still among the greats
>> of that distant past (Schwitters, Klee).--
>> also re English, by the way:  please feel free if you wish to
>> post in French or other mainstream languages,  as -empyre- is
>> very broad in elocution :-)
>> cm
>> On Mar 2, 2006, at 5:37 PM, Thomas Schmidt wrote:
>>> Hello List,
>>> This is my first post on the list, so i'll start by introducing
>>> myself. My name is Thomas and I'm a graphic-designer based
>> in Paris, 
>>> so, please excuse my English.
>>> Le 2/03/06 5:40, « Christina McPhee »
>> <> a
>>> écrit :
>>>> I've been sustaining - as a rather
>>>> personal point o view - that what separates modernity to
>>>> contemporaneity has to do with a kind of gap, established
>> 'round the 
>>>> 80's when something great was expected but never happened
>>> Doesn't it seem that the relationship we have to those words,
>>> modernity and contemporaneity, is of a completely different nature?
>>> Modernity, as an art period (whether or not it has come to an end,
>>> which is beyond my reasoning) can be thought of as bounded to the
>>> external socio-technological factors of its time, such as the great
>>> technological discoveries of the late 19th century, marxism etc.,
>>> whereas contemporaneity can only be related to our own
>> self, in that 
>>> contemporaneity, for a lack of proper wording "travels" with us.
>>> Best,
>>> Thomas.
>>> -
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> empyre forum
>> _______________________________________________
>> empyre forum
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

This archive was generated by a fusion of Pipermail 0.09 (Mailman edition) and MHonArc 2.6.8.