Re: [-empyre-] Jumping into Antiquity

I wanted to unlurk a little, as I think this is amazing thread.  However, I 
cannot hope to address the issues (of which there are so omay) being 
discussed  with the time of rigor I'd like.  That being said...

In regards to the whole modern-as-construct/post/hypermodern (Manovich, but 
I term it as transmodern), it's highly problematic.

I'd posit that the Modern broke with the prior Romantic, Pre-Raphaelite, 
representational, NeoClassical, and remnants of Renaissance paradigme - I'm 
shoving a lot of mixed metaphors around rather arbitrarily, so please 
forgive me, and note that that Modernism merely marked certain radical 
shifts from extant paradigms.  For this audience, that's a pretty basic 

My metaphor for the trichotomy (modern/post/trans) is that of a structure 
(let's say a tree) which was broken and reconstructed/regrown with a lattice 
of the kind used to immobiliize complex leg fractures (posmodern analytical 
strategies).  Add to this an encompassing envelope that includes things like 
self-referential humanism, Neo-Romanticism (evident in contemporary Goth 
culture), and obsessions with the spirit and sublime that add yet another 
layer to the Modernist project.

Another metaphor is the one of n-dimensional unfolding, in which 
transmodernism represents the interlinking of Modern, Postmodern and 
Premodern paradigms as the square unfolds to the cube to the tesseract.

My position is that Modernism, albeit reconfigured, is still very much alive  
and well.  I also believe that the Postmodern could not exist if the Modern 
were truly elided, as I consider PM as a set of analytical tools which 
exists in concurrence with the Postmodern.  Sure, there are irruptions and 
cracks in the Modern enterprise, but many of the pieces of the old machine 
are still in place.  

This is why in a recent essay I posited that New Media was, in essence, as 
3rd Wave Avant-garde for its obvious reiterations of social, cultural, 
technological, and artistic themes associated with the 00'-20's and the 50's 
-60's.  Of course, this is not saying that the added frameworks of the 
Postmodern (deconstruction, self-reflexivity, and so on) were not extant, 
but so much of the Modernist project was in 90's New Media, at least in its 
general vision, that I claim it as a Third Avant-Garde.

We do seem to be in a transmodern phase that is unfolding, but but it also 
enfolds the Modern as well.  From this, I can only say what I think might be 
some of the qualities of our nascent era, but it's too soon for me to talk 
with great clarity.

To escape Modernism and its derivatives might require such a radical 
paradigm shift that it could disrupt once more what is conventionally 
considered as art.  What could that be?  I don't know.  

However, I think of the shift from the Classical to Medieval, Medieval to 
Renaissance, Renaissance/NeoClassica/Baroque/and so on to Modern, I argue 
that there are fundamental paradigmatic shifts that we have not made which 
would nullify the Modern, but also do not invalidate its later developments 
either.  We have not made the radical departure from the Modern yet that 
creates the fatal rupture between contemporary time and 'antiquity'.

However, I also wonder what the use of that might be, and how such a radical  
departure would serve culture.  In many ways, I argue that such irruptions 
often occur in ways that those who desire them might not wish them to happen 
, for reasons of power, politics, etc.

So to put Modernism off on a shelf in a library probably won't work.  It's 
not quite dead yet, just partially, or reconfigured.  The very use of many 
of the tools reconnect New Media to the Modern, and even its name suggests 

Therefore, my final point is that no matter how contemporary arts wish to 
distance themselves, Modernism lurks as the 800-lb gorilla in the back yard 
that just won't go away, and honestly, I don't have many problems with this.

To talk on a tangent, Maybe we _should_ revisit a bit of Marx and Engels, 
and consider the function of art...

I hope this missive is at least relatively coherent, and thanks for the 
great discussion.


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