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Postmodernanybody have a sensible definition?


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#16 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 November 2003 - 04:36 AM

Or in the post-then, pre-now.

#17 Joanna

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 06:49 AM

Basic features of postmodernism are:
- pluralism
- ambivalence
- antifundamentalism in philosophy (protest against classic rules; fundamentalism is the main feature of Cartesius’ philosophy)

The most visible feature of postmodernism is – I think – a pluralism: there are a lot of different thoughts, trends, ideas, that are existing together, even if there are discrepant. Pluralism also means that many different styles can be mixed, making a new thing.

In post-modern art there is no cult of everything what’s new, like it was in the Avant-garde (trend in art from years about 20” and 30’), there is no functionality (especially in architecture).
That art was the most popular in years about 70’ and 80’, then appeared such ideas and conceptions like neoclassicism, neoromanticism, neobaroque, trans avant-garde, etc.
Generally, in postmodernism developed a lot of different trends in arts, the most important are: pop art (A. Warhol, R. Lichtenstein), assemblage (Jean Dubuffet), conceptualism, happening (A. Kaprow), body art, fluxus, minimal art, land art, hiperrealism, video art, and many, many more.

I don’t know, how is it exactly in dance, but you may compare it to the “spirit of the epoque” ;)

(Well, I hope the post is quite clear)

Edited by Joanna, 25 November 2003 - 06:51 AM.


#18 Kate B

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 07:29 AM

Is it just me or is it extremely difficult to feel certain about one's own opinion, within the postmodern context?

#19 GWTW

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 07:32 AM

Joanna, thanks for that. I was especially taken (aback :) ) by your comment that "there is no functionality (especially in architecture)". This is my instinctive reaction when I see a 'postmodern' building, but I didn't know it was a principled discision.
How is this justified - as architecture is the most functional of arts?

#20 Alexandra

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 08:06 AM

Kate, I think part of the "fun" of postmodern is that you can have any opinion -- nothing matters, everything is relative, murder? self-defense? accidental death? Hey, it's all in how you look at it. (Ayn Rand never gets enough credit for relativism.) Who says a building has to be functional? Or have doors and windows? :)

#21 Kate B

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 08:50 AM

Ah, yes, Alexandra, but I just think it means things are just less certain than they used to be. I'm a black and white kinda person, y'know? I need to know if I'm right! (I'm the eldest sibling...) :)

#22 Alexandra

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 09:07 AM

I like shades of gray, but I like them in the context of being between two poles (the balck and the white).

I think it was relativism that sent Moses up the Mount, but I can't prove it :) But relativism is an off-shoot or corollary to post-modern.

And I think Joanna's description is quite fine and I'm glad to have the view of someone who's sympathetic to PoMo.

#23 Michael

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 10:32 AM

The auction market uses the terms "Modern" and "Contemporary," with modern meaning Matisse and Picasso and contemporary being the New York School and what came afterwards. As Mel indicates, the line keeps moving -- It is quite an oxymoron today to call Rothko and Pollack contemporary.

Note one thing, that the terms vary not merely with respect to the art being described, but also with respect to new generations of critics coming onto the scene. To make sense out of this you need not just a history of the art, but a history of its critics.

#24 Funny Face

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Posted 25 November 2003 - 02:50 PM

I recall hurrying into place one day in modern class by walking quickly in a semi circle with my entire body leaning into the direction I was walking. It was just a natural way to cover the distance in the quickest way, but the teacher stopped, grinned, and said, "That was so post modern!" Who knew?!

It appears that this term can apply to most anything, from poetry to anthropology to medicine.

Here is one definition from a sociological viewpoint:


"[Post Modernism]......is the belief that direction, evolution and progression have ended in social history, and society is based instead upon the decline of absolute truths, and the rise of relativity......"

For those inclined to delve deeper, a variety of sites:

http://www.colorado....lages/pomo.html

http://www.hewett.no...MODE/post11.htm

http://www.poetry-po...om/styles5.html

http://www.holistich...MG/postmod.html

http://www.as.ua.edu...hy/436/pomo.htm

#25 Joanna

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 10:54 AM

Joanna, thanks for that. I was especially taken (aback :) ) by your comment that "there is no functionality (especially in architecture)". This is my instinctive reaction when I see a 'postmodern' building, but I didn't know it was a principled discision.
How is this justified - as architecture is the most functional of arts?

Well, it's not a principle, rather the feature of posmodernism. Also in postmodernism there were a lof of manifestations of mistrust in the main meaning of art; there were a lot of styles in art, which came into being beacuse of mistrust in a work of art as something different than commonness. (good example is conceptualism, which reduced to art to only concept, idea, that you can write down and post or put in a gallery).

#26 Kate B

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Posted 27 November 2003 - 02:17 AM

Like here in London there was a big hoo-ha about some female artist who was displaying the description of a piece of artwork but there was no way of saying whether the piece even existed or not. I can't remember the details, but I'll try and dig them out.

Also Kammer/Kammer by Ballet Frankfurt was kind of postmodern, and it worked because it was done so well. It contained 2 'plays' (one of which was an essay about a professor who pretends she is Catherine Deneuve working as a professor) and most of the dancing was done behind walls, but was filmed live and shown on screens.

#27 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 November 2003 - 04:52 AM

Now, these definitions begin, for me, to be more useful in providing a firmament upon which to view the "postmodern" scene. I suppose, though, that the name itself, in its oxymoron, is what bothers me most. Why couldn't it be called "zucchini" or something?

#28 Kate B

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Posted 27 November 2003 - 05:27 AM

It's not really an oxymoron though, is it? Modern is just a name, like zucchini could have been if they had chosen to name the period covered by the so-called 'modern' period, and post-modern's what comes after that. And didn't someone say that we'd come out of the post-modern period now, into something else? :wink:

#29 Mel Johnson

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Posted 27 November 2003 - 05:36 AM

As a historian, I deal in time all the...well, time! I believe that "modern" was probably intended as a continuing term for au courant dance. Postmodern means "after now" just as a matter of definitions. I realize that it was formed to mean "after Martha, Mary, and Doris", but I find "postmodern" an awkward concept. If we see something which is formed by improvisation, we are seeing the modern, in the form of current events. If it has been rehearsed, then we're seeing a recent past! We can never see the POSTmodern, for it is, as in the words of the song, "always a day away".

#30 Michael

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Posted 27 November 2003 - 06:54 AM

That is the problem here -- It is that Postmodern is being used to two senses. In its literal sense it means, in English, what Mel says, and would compass everything which comes after Modern. Stylistically, however, it is being used in a narrower, probably in a number of narrower senses (depending upon the more or less arbitrary boundaries of the definitions of the people who employ the term). Thus the confusion. The common English meaning of the word indicates something global and defined temporaly. Stylistically, however, it has a narrower meaning and denotes only one of several competing artistic styles and movements which arose after modern passed from the scene.


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