What is postmodernism?
I’ve been considered on that for sometime. To generalise things; it is the turn of the late 20th century which include computing, art, architecture, literature, and fashion. Looking into the evolution of mankind, and posthumanity in my previous post, I came across those who were deeply involved with distinctive philosophies and theories, Friedrich Nietzsche and Iban Hassan were also involved in the movement Post-modernism. Which leads me to think that Postmodernism doesn’t stop at the inanimate objects, such as paintings, building structure, clothing, it is much more profound.
When it comes to art, and architecture, postmodernism could essentially imply that, someone came in with a new point of view and altered the way something was created. An upgrade to what was going on before. But that could be said for the precursors of Postmodernism – if you look back, Arts and Crafts movement, founded by William Morris was one of the first accomplished art movements, which then inspired Art Nouveau (“New art”), this had Art Deco, and by now we have entered what would be called “Modernism” and then this turned into postmodernism. So something, has to trigger an influential spark off to conjure up our current art movement (or is it?). Was it the accidental brush stroke? The spill of an ink pot? An area of a newly designed building collapsing to give it an odd shape?
With Postmodernism, I think it was the commercialization of computers, – although computers were invented as early as 1923, just not as we knew them now – had structured the phenomenon of new modernism, Pop Art being a brilliant example, the instigation of “appropriation”. In the late 20th century, everything was pixels and simply two-dimensional, but now, which makes me wonder if we have entered the stage of “Post-postmodernism”, what can be created via computer is three-dimensional, things can move with a realistic flow! Look at our recent video games, motion-captured people, emotion-captured people.
To bring it back to evolutionary standards of humanity, and I will use a quote from the 1995 film Powder from the character Dr. Ripley, who quoted Albert Einstein: “It has become appallingly clear that our technology has surpassed our humanity.” and of which the character goes to say “When I look at you, I have hope that maybe one day our humanity will surpass our technology.”
I personally don’t think Post-modernism just stops at the definition of artistic values, whether it is in writing, architecture or paintings/drawings/illustrations/graphics. It’s a progression of humanity as well, of technology in general. Progression of our own history. We’re not just living in a post-modernist world, we’re growing into the stage where everything is post-humanist. Everything that we held dear, such as craftsmanship as a whole; artists, writers, builders, having something physical in one’s hand. Everything is being held withn a square screen, books, artwork, people. Postmodernism is the era of technology, but we’re coming to a point where we’re surpassing that.