Fredrick Jameson

On February 23rd I went to the artist visiting lecture featuring Fredrick Jameson. Jameson currently is teaching at Duke University where covers many topics including cinema, modernism, post modernity as a whole, and philosophy as a symptom of art.  Modernism is a period that is over and done with, post modernity is the new historical movement that is considered to have started around 1980. Post modernity as a whole is a way of thinking and constructivism.

Jameson examines the systems of post modernity and is fond of analyzing them. This includes looking a the past, present, and future. It is important to look at the present from other time frames but this can also be an insult on the present.


To Jameson, photography is the “poor cousin of painting”. To him, it is an abstraction of the visual. He say that individual art no longer has momentum. Great artists no longer exist and great curators have taken their place. A nasty side of curators also is present today. This includes the absence of humans from installation and everything now comes with instructions. The world is no longer on a human scale. Philosophy has also been replaced by theory.


Art, today, is generated by a single bright idea. Conceptual art in the old traditional style was based on a single concept. Today when we view art, what we consume is more than visual. It is an idea rather than the physical essence.  With an abstraction of the natural, we consume an image with an idea and conjuncture, and it is all a unique event.


The derivative is only one unique event that needs to be thought by a computer. Due to globalization, all stable structures are problematic. All examples are different from other examples. Globalization, the third state of capitalism, is inspected and analyzed after the fact. The project being inspected consists of six different exchange rates. There is no regulation because they are all so different.


A question that arose during the lecture reads, “How can something talk of the past and future, but be taking place in the present. This is the idea of singularity, which resists generality. This idea is not yet defined by scientists. It is sometimes viewed as science-fiction linked to computer and artificial intelligence.


The end of the world may happen before the end of Capitalism. The world shares universal values such as the reaction against nationalization. Feminism and gender roles are also observed. Transformation of subjectivity looks at the connections between time and space. The end on temporality can only be achieved completely through the body and the present. The past is gone and Politics have made it so that one can no longer imagine the future.



2 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed reading your lecture review on Fredrick Jameson and learning more about various perspectives on Post Modernity. It particularly struck a chord with me when you said Jameson felt that photography is the “poor cousin of painting.” I think this is a interesting concept because I recently read a book that argued both photography and painting distort and abstract to gain appeal from the viewer. While I believe the two mediums utilize different tactics to enhance their works, I do agree with this notion. Artist like Michelangelo and Goya had specific techniques they would incorporate into their work to heighten drama and emotional intensity. Today photographers use various approaches (lighting, staging, ect.) to make an image more alluring to an audience. Understanding this distortion of reality from a Post Modernist lens means conceptualizing the fact that individuals will place different meanings upon these images based on how it relates within the context of their society.

  2. You did a good job of summarizing some main points from, what I thought was an extremely dense and somewhat confusing lecture. However, I think your review would have been more interesting if you had included some of your thoughts on what he said.

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