RE: [-empyre-] Is Modernity our Antiquity? fugue: Forward from Christiane Paul

From: <>
Date: March 10, 2006 1:47:34 PM PST
To: <>
Subject: RE: [-empyre-] Is Modernity our Antiquity? fugue

First of all, I think it's only natural that our discussion regarding techne vs. concept has focused more on the formal, technological aspects -- given that our main topic this month is modernity. In another context, we might have concentrated more on the concept / art- historical canon aspect...

I'd like to return to some of Simon's comments:

Simon wrote:
"There is something about this ‘transformation’ (of ‘arch-modernist mindsets
’) that merits discussion. I think it was Brett, forgive me if I’m wrong,
who said that postmodernism is built on the foundations of modernism.
Christine has poked a little, deservedly, at the idea of Hegelian synthesis,
in the n-state. In both views there inheres the idea of transformation – a
redemption even of modernist assumptions. I think this archaeological
impulse, this restorative ‘moral’ and critical project – such, indeed, that
the question heading this discussion can be asked – may be promoted by
precisely the kind of spectacular mise-en-scene we see in Roger Beurgel’s
statement on modernity."

Interesting thought but I didn't intend to suggest that the ways in which modernist and postmodernist ideas inform our current n-state constitute a process of synthesis or 'restorative' approach or even redemption. I doubt that these ideas are synthesized, they coexist and cross-pollinate and at the same time create ruptures. I see the current state more as one of rupture than one of synthesis...

Pa Ubu: “Hornstrumpet! We shall not have succeeded in demolishing everything
unless we demolish the ruins as well. But the only way I can see of doing
that is to use them to put up a lot of fine, well-designed buildings.”

That's certainly one way to go ;) But I don't necessarily believe in demolishing ruins, sometimes they are a nice reminder of 'heritage' (the downside being that the weight of history can become oppressive). Rome is one of the cities where ruins coexist -- which is both fascinating and eerie.

Simon wrote:
"Finally, a brief word regarding the n-state, an idea with its own
fascination; and I’d like to know more about its provenance; since, as well
as zipping up a certain bodybag – synthetic teeth mesh – it also iterates
management/bureaucratic themes of ‘technological progress and
infrastructural improvements’."

It certainly iterates ideas of progress and improvement but, at the same time, entails the critical engagement with the inherent flaws of these ideas. Particularly in contemporary artistic practice that uses digital technologies and network structures, there is a lot of analysis of misguided concepts of progress and development of alternative models (for publishing / broadcasting models, free / alternative software, "community development" etc.)


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