Extra Credit Essay #3, Jordan Dawson – Eleanor Heartney: “Introduction to Post-Modernism” February 14th

Postmodernism is in a constant struggle to define itself. It is as arbitrary as the idea of “modernism” itself. Time is constantly moving forward, so how can there ever be an overarching definition for the term “modernism” if it is constantly shifting? And even beyond that, how could we ever label that which is after the present? Post modernism neither knows who his Dad is or who he is himself. One must present their own subjective definition of modernism before they even attempt to describe what postmodernism is. To even further obscure it’s meaning, many have defined it only to be the opposite of other things. We don’t understand light because we know it’s the opposite of darkness, we’ve observed it and been able to distinguish it as a physical presence. To be postmodern according to Eleanor Heartney, you must bring back something that was never missed at all. She uses the instance of a museum in France that made recreations of ancient, magnificent Paleolithic cave drawings – which were never even shown to the public at all in the first place! When something is reproduced, it’s usually because its original state is damaged to the point where it can’t fully be experienced any more, so it’s recreated for those who miss it. But, it is exactly this uncertainty and abstraction which makes postmodernism so relevant. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle all outline the age of doubt and skepticism, a sort of acceptance of reality’s inherent instability.

            Postmodernist art questions what is fact. It clashes with reality and does so sloppily, gruesomely and unmercifully. It even questions the validity of my explanation of Postmodernism as I type this, for what are these words but arbitrary symbols representing external phenomena as if it were internal. What I am saying right now could have absolutely no meaning at all and most likely doesn’t. The entire theory is basically an intentional rebuttal of itself. It is a natural paradox that attempts to make everything invalid and questionable. Which is good because it makes us question notions that we hold for granted. But it’s also quite harmful to our present state of things in that it eventually leads to the idea of absolute absurdity; that nothing at all means anything. Art work considered at one point in time to be postmodern has naturally decayed into near meaninglessness as a result. Pop Art, for example, was labeled kitsch and superficial. Minimalism became theatrical in its attempt to involve the audience, which is almost always associated as non-artistic. And finally Conceptual Art imploded within itself, exploiting meaning for a lack of aesthetic taste. Eventually blatant plagiarism became considered postmodern, in that all things were collectively owned, and by putting your name on something, it effectively becomes your very own work of art. I’m unsure if Post Modernism will destroy us or free us with total lack of meaning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: