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Minas Tirith Forums » The Prancing Pony Archive » postmodernism (Page 1)
Author Topic: postmodernism
The Thief
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[] I have searched and found no Topic of this type.

This year at School I am majoring in a study of postmodernism.
Just thoughts on it please?
I know a bit about it, but anything else?... Links shall follow and a longer post but I gotta go set the table.

From: Possum Creek | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Kosomot
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Isn´t postmodernism the form of art that makes absolutely no sense?
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Dolmed
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quote:
Isn´t postmodernism the form of art that makes absolutely no sense?
You mean it's a true reflection of life []

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From: At home chilling in front of the PC , watching some TV | Registered: Jul 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Freya
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It's a wanky way for urbanites to sound trendy and cerebral without the labour of thinking intellegently.*

Next time you hear someone say it, grab them with both hands and ask them for a straight explanation of less than 150 words.

*Except Lasse who is most cerebral and intelligent. In fact he gave quite a good explanation here (though sadly not less than 150 words)

[ 10-15-2003, 05:20 AM: Message edited by: Freya ]

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Roll of Honor Lassë
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Oh My Gwod!

Dolmed [] [] *very good point actually*

Freya, postmodernism covers so many aspects of human life and culture, so asking for an explanation is like asking for an explanation about what 'modernism' is -- if you don't cover art, architecture, science, philosophy, social studies, medicine, litterature, education, politics, religion, history, media, etc etc etc you won't get to the core of it.

Actually I think that most of these urban flipflops that you talk about strangling can give you a 150 words definition - it just wouldn't be any more than professional blah blah. Don't be angry at the things you don't understand []

I'd LOVE to discuss postmodernism here on MT. But I need you, Thief, to play the first ball so I know in which direction you wanna bring it. Looking forward []

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The Thief
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Mwahahaha
Yes lasse, i just had to set the table...

It is Literary based for me.

My understanding comes from these... so far.

ON postmodernism

ALSO on postmodernism

My research is all pre-curriculum, so as for physical text books, i am yet to own one. This thread is just for throwing ideas around, not really lit based, but just throwing ideas around on postmodernism.
I suppose that one must understand modernism first, but oh well. The first link outlines it pretty well so...

What interests me about postmodernism as apposed to modernism is the way that instead of grieving over modern life's loss of meaning, and the subsequent need for meaning justification through art, lit, architecture &., postmodernism is celebrating it...

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The Thief
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*What I say may be wrong, but that is quite impossible in the realm of postmodernism...

Destruction of the canon is another interesting point. You may compare literally a bus ticket to King Lear.

I found contradictions between the two links:
Link two:
quote:
Modernism is here understood in art and architecture as the project of rejecting tradition in favour of going "where no man has gone before" or better: to create forms for no other purpose than novelty.
Link One:
quote:
Modernism, for example, tends to present a fragmented view of human subjectivity and history (think of The Wasteland, for instance, or of Woolf's To the Lighthouse), but presents that fragmentation as something tragic, something to be lamented and mourned as a loss. Many modernist works try to uphold the idea that works of art can provide the unity, coherence, and meaning which has been lost in most of modern life; art will do what other human institutions fail to do. Postmodernism, in contrast, doesn't lament the idea of fragmentation, provisionality, or incoherence, but rather celebrates that. The world is meaningless? Let's not pretend that art can make meaning then, let's just play with nonsense.

Now both are based on novelty?
Lasse?

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The Thief
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You say Lasse in your description of postmodernism: "I cannot define it in one sentence"

Would this suffice?
quote:
Postmodernism espouses a systematic skepticism of grounded theoretical perspective
For I know what you talk of about the questioning, the skepticism of the grand narratives.

[] Dolmed!!!

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Generally, postmodernism is crap, pure and total crap. It's a way for unimaginitve "artists", if you can even call them that, to label their crap as art. I should know, I'm an artist. Graphic design and ceramic sculpture are more my deal though.
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Roll of Honor Lassë
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Well firstly,
I'm not sure that I agree with the stuff about postmodernism not lamenting the loss of meaning. Many postmodernists might claim that (and behave that way) but postmodernism in itself does not have a moral flavour. It doesn't say that "I'm a good period" or "I'm a bad period" - it simply says "I'm here - deal with it (or not)".

As for the thing about 'novelty' -- well if I understand the word right then it means something around the lines of 'news'/'newness' -- I don't agree with the quote that says that modern artists hunted novelty - at least not in the same way as postmodern artists. In my mind modern artists (cubism, expressionism, impressionism, surrealism...) had purpose in their art - I liek the quote about modernist art trying to "uphold the idea that works of art can provide the unity, coherence, and meaning which has been lost in most of modern life". In postmodern art (this is VERY generalising) the whole media has changed - an important difference is that THE work of art has lost it's unikeness. I totally think that pop-art is postmodern. I know it came around before the definition but that's the natural way for things to occur. In pop-art the relation between signifier and the signified is not a modernist "this is the way to understand the world" but a postmodernist "the world is relative, fragmentized, full of perspective, so there is no longer a real world to refer to, and therfore we refer to signs, simulacra, mass production, fiction" --

When postmodernists refer to obviously fictive works (like Lichtensteins donald duck paintings) it's an obvious contrast to the traditional religious paintings (who claim that their fictive references aren't fictional but REAL) and the modernistic art loaded with psychoanalysis, ideologies, existentialism etc (all of which are also, in a postmodern POV, merely narratives/fictions about reality, and not reflections of reality itself)...

Ohh I can't say this in a short way -- I know posts like this are rarely read through, but I hope you at least will, dear Theif.

I don't doubt that Social Dist won't read it []

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Roll of Honor Freya
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quote:
Don't be angry at the things you don't understand
Hmmmm. For that insult you get a big, sloppy, postmodern kiss.

A) I'm not angry.
B) I do actually understand it perfectly.

By asking, I just enjoy the stuttering, head scratching and general "well yes, it is an awful word isn't it, but really there is....blah blah blah". OK, I need a life []

[ 10-15-2003, 07:29 AM: Message edited by: Freya ]

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Roll of Honor Lassë
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LOL Freya []

I know you understand it. You're just going for that Socratesean 'uh I know I know nothing but that's more than you guys' -attitude []

Very clever []

The fact that a lot of people has used the term postmodernism to describe anything has just resulted in the weird thing that no ~real authors, artists, philosophers will call themselves or their products postmodern. The word is worn up. For a discussion like this one there is no need to be afraid to use the word. I hate it when people use "" around it all the time becaus they're afraid someone will hole the using of the word against them.

We're not scientists here, so lets just use it because it's the most convenient way to talk about what all the others call: the reflexive modern, the postindustrialized era, the information society, the risk society, the new modern, etc.

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Roll of Honor Wandering Tuor
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I like Freya's definition best (wankers), as it best explains writers such as Derrida and Foucault - or maybe more accurately, the way D + F are used. The Wikipedia defintion is here.

Thief - I would have thought that Woolf and Eliot were modernists, not postmodernists. P.s. nice avatar!

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Roll of Honor Lassë
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Wow WT it isn't too often that the links you provide are without jokes in them! Pretty good link actually.

Anyways, discussing postmodernism or not isn't really a discussion worth taking since opponents can always find some sucker who used it for some weird thing and say that it explains how stupid the notion of postmodernism is.

There is no doubt to me that things have changed. I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air -- as the Pagans and Ents would put it. The biggest difference being to me that there is no longer any narratives/ideas that are larger than life. We have the Decl. of Human Rights, but everyone knows that we invented it, and it therefore does not have the same authority as eg. communism or christianity had (cause they based themselves on some ecternal truth: historical dialectics and God).

So if everyone agrees that something has changed since what we usually understand as modern society (the period starting with the enlightenment), then there is no reason to debate the term 'postmodernism' cause I don't think anyone here takes it to be more than just the easiest way to describe this general change in our culture and our lives. period. []

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Altarial
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Woa!!

Interesting...

My dad was writing a book about all this.

I'll find out where his articles are and post them.

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Imbëar
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Postmodernism is great.
I particularly like the deconstructive aspects of the binary
and the linear in literature, as well as the male canon itself.

Eliot is modernist.
I just finished with Pound, Williams, and Stevens, and now I'm reading some Gertrude Stein....who is verydifficult to defend against the charge of "pseudo-cerebral." Next week I'll be reading Eliot.

I remember when I first heard that someone had written a long poem called "The Wasteland." I knew it would be incredible. And it is.
Despite the title, the entire poem is uplifting.
Like water up from dry stones, Eliot commands the ancient mythologies to speak to the living again...
the poem has a dissolved central authority, changing voice every two or four lines (or something like that)...
as he says, we have shored these fragments against our ruin -
in essence, he experiments with the concept that one story cannot tell every tale yet many stories tell the one tale.

Imbëar

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Roll of Honor Gna
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Good luck to you, The Thief , in your studies of postmodernism-a very complex and intriguing topic! I must confess that I still don't really understand the concept of postmodernism, however. I think that some of the visual artists whose works I love fall into the category of "postmodern":Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Joseph Cornell (perhaps). To my novice brain, the Fluxus artists are postmodern as well. Fluxus is great, because it's so participatory. Lots of "ordinary" people can be involved in Fluxus mail art events, for example. I'd put a lot of punk music into the postmodern category-also Laurie Anderson and John Cage would qualify. Concepts like "postmodernism" are easier for the un-cogniscenti (like me) to understand if there are concrete examples. I once asked a cogniscenti friend to explain "deconstructionism" to me (in the context of literature), and it was a disaster. In the October issue of Harper's Magazine, there's a small excerpt from a book by Giovanna Borradori, from an interview about September 11 (as a historical event) with Derrida. Derrida says:

quote:
For the index pointing toward this date, the bare act, the minimal deictic, the minimalist aim of this dating, also marks something else. The telegram of this metonymy-a name, a number-points out the unqualifiable by recognizing that we do not recognize or even cognize that we do not yet know how to qualify, that we do not know what we are talking about.
[] [] [] [] []

It's precisely that kind of bovine manure that makes me agree with Freya about the pretentiousness of postmodern posers. I'll leave you with this song from the Crash Test Dummies, When You Go Out With Artists:

quote:
When I go out with artists
They talk about language and the cubists and the dadaists
And I try to catch their meanings
And keep up with all the martinis
I don't know which should be my favorite paintings

If I could see, if I could see, if I could
See all the symbols, unlock what they mean
Maybe I could, maybe I could, maybe I
Could meet the artists, and get to know them personally

If I were David Byrne
I'd go to galleries and not be too concerned
Well I would have a cup of coffee
And I'd find my surroundings quite amusing and
People would ask me which were my favorite paintings

What if the artists ran the TV?
All the ads would be for fine scotch whiskey:
Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, the whole single malt family

The artists of the future
Will make up new things and different nomenclatures
And they'll stand amongst their pictures
And they'll sing and laugh and quote from scriptures and
When they go home they'll dream of brilliant paintings


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Imbëar
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I had to...

"What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
you cannot say, or guess, for you know only
a heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
and the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
and the dry stone no sound of water. Only
there is shadow under this red rock,
(come in under the shadow of this red rock),
and I will show you something different from either
your shadow at morning striding behind you
or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust
."

"The Wasteland" proper, begins with this introductory line:

"I. The Burial of the Dead"

- this "burial," of course, refers to "The Birth of Christ."

Imbëar

[ 10-16-2003, 10:15 PM: Message edited by: Imbëar ]

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Roll of Honor Celebrían
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Whenever I encounter art labeled postmodern, I experience a mosaic. The word "collage" shows up used by others to describe this creative synthesis of throwing seemingly unrelated things (or even people) together that appear to have no connection to each other. However, fun comes in finding patterns. The supposéd randomness of real life is not postmodern. I find deliberate organization in postmodern styles, including music. Paul Winter's Missa Gaia, Earth Mass, a mix of styles of hymns with animal "songs" is a good example of the juxtapositions.
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Imbëar
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Indeed,
the term "pastiche" is very commonly applied.

Anyone interested in women's or feminist literature ought to become comfortable with these less linear methods of narrative.

In most works, however, there is a connective flow throughout.
To see this in operation, I recommend a fairly cohesive novel like Lost in the Funhouse by John Barth.
(I know Celebrían had fun with this one).

Imbëar

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Roll of Honor Lassë
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OMGwod Freya, you've become something like the prophet of anti-postmodernity [] I'm hella drunk right now, but I'll be back tomorrow, and then hopefully I'll have a point or two about all this. Or maybe I'll even try to explain why the Derrida-quote isn't bollocks []
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The Thief
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Thanks for the Avatar Comment W. Tuor!

Thanks for the input everyone...

quote:
We have the Decl. of Human Rights, but everyone knows that we invented it, and it therefore does not have the same authority as eg. communism or christianity had (cause they based themselves on some ecternal truth: historical dialectics and God).
Question: Are you saying here that postmodernism doesn't question the grand-narratives of religions? Don't whack me if i'm totally wrong; there are alot of big alien words in this thread and i'm a bit scared []

Imbëar,(thanks for the poem exert) I am young, so other than Tolkien (all the reading time i spend on him...) I have only a small list of good material that I have read. All that Woolf and Eliot shall come...I have heard about, and looked over 'the wasteland'. I must admit I have read a fair bit of ee cummings, and not that I understand it all, but what about that poem the grasshopper? I really don't get that.

GNa, It is strange, but I composed a performance poem a few months ago for english on this topic. I hadn't done much research on postmodernism so it was pretty shallow and negative against it, but it sounded alot like that song by the Crash Test Dummies, When You Go Out With Artists. (i'm not at all saying that it is shallow and negative.) But yes.
It seems easy to classify composers of apparently any medium of composition, if there work be off-norm, as modernism of postmodernism.

Yes I think fragmentation is a major characteristic of postmodernism (i couldn't say convention because of the ambiguosity hehe) ie. pastiche and collage.

I'm still reading all your posts lasse. thanks.

Also, thanks for the wikipedia link. It is very clear!-Wandering Tuor

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From: Possum Creek | Registered: Aug 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Roll of Honor Gna
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The Thief - I think that the Crash Test Dummies song expresses perfectly how many intelligent and otherwise well-educated people feel, when confronted with pretentiousness and specialist jargon in an unfamilar environment. Plus, I've seen David Byrne listed as a postmodern artist, so I loved the line "If I were David Byrne, I'd go out to galleries and not be too concerned."

I'm not a professional artist, but I dabble in watercolors, colored pencils, and collage, and I've spent a lot of time studying art in galleries and books. I know what I like, and why I like it, even if I can't express these opinions in appropriate cogniscenti lingo. It annoys me when "artistes" trivialize opinions like mine as "outsider" and unsophisticated.

Lassë - Sober up quickly, I'm interested to hear you defend Derrida! If I had someone in my general field of expertise sitting in my office and talking like Derrida, I'm afraid I'd be compelled to adopt uncharacteristic and gender-inappropriate "jock" behavior: I'd squirt the person with ice-cold Gatorade and pop him/her repeatedly on the butt with a rolled-up wet towel, until he/she fled in deictic terror. It would be my own deconstructionist Fluxus performance event. []

I also wanted to say that this is the most interesting non-Tolkien topic I've seen at MT. []

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Roll of Honor Lassë
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Theif,

quote:
does not have the same authority as eg. communism or christianity had
Sorry for being unclear. The 'had' (in italics now) was to show that communism and christianity (and other grand narratives) do not have that authority anymore (according to postmodernity). Is that better?

EDIT:
crossed with Gna []
I'm pretty hungover, so I'l wait with the Derrida quote. For now I'll just remind you that the quote was probably said in French and then translated, and translation often blurs the content.

I also think this thread is really interesting []

*will be back*

[ 10-17-2003, 06:56 AM: Message edited by: Lassë ]

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Roll of Honor Gna
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Lassë- No, I'm pretty sure the interview was in English-I tried to find a link to the Harper's Magazine piece, since I'm too lazy to type the whole article. To be fair, though, Derrida begins his answer with a discussion of English vs. French, and how language affects our interpretations and understanding.
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Minas Tirith Forums » The Prancing Pony Archive » postmodernism (Page 1)
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