2004/12/22

On Postmodernism, Summary.

1. Seen from a historical perspective, modernism appears as a blimp on the time span of human culture and postmodernism remains till largely absent from the history of human culture. Dates are given as indications of each period's time relativity.

- animism: (BC 50,000-0, ...) : primitive arts.
- religion: (Europe: AD 400-1700) : religious art
- modernism: (1500-2020/2050)
........ * early modernism: (1500-1900) : landscapes, portraits
.........* modernism: (1900-1980) : rejection of the first degree image that projects on the retina
.........* late modernism: (1980-2020/2050) : total confusion
- Postmodernism: (2000-... )
.........* early postmodernism: (2000-2050/2100) : trials at making visual sense
.........* postmodernism: (2050/2100-.... ) : the visual signs of a new worldview


2. Visual arts have been imposed by the men of power as illustrators of the worldview of the men of knowledge along all of humanity's cultural history, albeit for the last 100 years.
By the end of early modernity, the men of knowledge were losing the help of the men of power in imposing their knowledge upon all and they had more and more to compete with all kinds of charlatans to find the attention of all members of their societies.
Entering in the modern age, under the influence of new technologies that were introducing the notion of speed and under the influence of new scientific ideas, visual artists rejected the idea of reality as being this traditional first degree image projected on the retina. They were on a mission to find the visual signs of a changing worldview but newer changes were always emerging that annihilated the results that they had aleady attained. The intensification of changes in the second part of the century, kind of, broke the artists' compass. Losing the traditional socialization function given by the tandem men of power-men of knowledge, artists were plunged in a foggy thunderstrom. Groggy at the loss of their traditional function of illustrators of the worldview of the men of knowledge they fell under the influence of men of greed and marketization finally landed the visual arts in confusion land.


3. On Postmodernism.
Groggy and frustrated by the superficiality of arts at the hands of the managers and institutional bureaucrats of the art world, visual artists feel a deep need for rediscovering the sense of art in their works and they tumble upon this discovery that the world has changed a lot.
They discover that nowadays artists have not only to master a technique of representation as was the case during the past tens of thousands of years, they now also have to come up with their own content! They need to master their technique in order not to be burdened by technical matters but it is content that finally finds central stage in artistic creation and "beauty" or "ugliness" relates more and more to the content of a work.

- A new understanding is starting to shape in the visual arts that without technique an artwork seems inachieved and without intellectual content it is as if it were shallow.

- A new human age is shaping from the maturation of 2 trends that grew out of modernity:
......* science and technology
......* globalization

Science and technology are developments emerging out of rationality and rationality is the philosophical worldview that has been imposed on all by the logic of capital.
By the end of the 20th century, science entered a new stage of its development. All phenomena were reduced successfully into combinations of digits and this led to the revolutionizing of all spheres of knowledge: information, biology, physics, chemistry and the expansion of scope from nanosciences to macrosciences...
From the intereaction between those sciences and its integration in system theory, is emerging a radically new understanding that is invalidating most of our past accepted truths.

Science and technology are central in the invalidation of past truths but they are unable by themselves to forge a new worldview. This can only result from the interaction between science and philosophy. In this age of building the global village it appears more evident every day that the belief system of the 15% of the world population who live in the affluence of the rich countries of the North/West shall not be the only philosophical guide of humanity and that other traditional systems of belief shall eventually supplant the western system.

Reality will not be conceived of any further as the straight line trajectory starting with god's creation that ends in a paradise of all goodness. Reality will be seen more as a process of multiple complex systems interacting between themselves and integrating in larger complex systems with change seen as reality's temporal trajectory. In summary, humanity went from an animist worldview towards a religious worldview then towards the rationality of the logic of capital and it now for the first time in human history is taking the road towards a truly global worldview:
- integrating all of humanity on mother earth.
- integrating a systemic model of understanding derived from the confrontation between science and philosophy.

The sheer size of the sea of changes in our newly shaping worldview is difficult to grasp. I think that, in the future, it shall be seen as the most profound cultural leap in all of humanity's history. It should thus not come as a surprise that our societies will be more and more in a dire need of cohesion building instruments and the creation of the visual signs of the emerging worldview shall I believe re-establish itself as a leading instrument of cohesion building.

Painters at your brushes, the world awaits your visual signs of the new worldview in the shaping but please remember that your content is a direct reflection of the quality of your knowledge base.

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