Tuesday, November 22, 2011

[ 1 0 ] h a s m o d e r n i s m f a i l e d ?

Has modernism failed? No shit. But this book, in the contemporary context, isn't asking about 'what ifs'. Its about formulating the backbone and "why is" for why post-modernism is such a predominant force in our culture and art (and for certain people, how it might even allude to post-post modernism, but that's another story). First published in 1984, scribed by the author Suzi Gablik, it begins to suspect to transition from craft for ultimately craft's sake and internal meaning towards witnessing capital defining the craft and meaning becoming extroverted to a mass, societal zeitgeist.

It all starts with Marcel Duchamp, as always does most conversations involving mod/post-mod. The first instance where we see the object becoming alienated from the craft which created it, because it is arguable that there is any craft at all. Yet, the object is altercating meaning in society, so who is one to argue that art must simply be a painting or drawing concealed in the proverbial squared circle? On page 24, the Marxists have something to say along this issue as well, in which "art for art's sake is corrupt". In laymen's terms, as if that weren't simple enough, art simply for the self gain and self exploration is trash, while art that serves the community and collective thought is ideal.

Public enemy number one.

And it is quite easy to get buried within that precariously metaphorical grave of only serving the self. First, one must overcome their own medium and transpire that into relating to the body of knowledge outside of themselves. A name for the medium they must overcome is 'style', which is quite a double edged blade, where in style may detract relational aesthetic it gains in personal strength and message. If you will, a personal emotion the artist has invested in the work versus only being a tool of society. Once that tightrope is walked, then another by the name of 'the self identity' must be crossed, which also relates quite wholesale to style. With just as many ramifications towards investing the self in a piece... The self identity may be relatable to more of a genre of class than we may think, and it may depend wholesale on current societal dys/utopia, but in the end a higher percentage of viewers may 'miss the point' because they are not who the artist is.

King of cinematic stylists. Yet relatable as holy f---.

In such a same instance, one might find it easy to stay clear of a system of the system and just continue to do style and style alone easily because it is a tempting matter. This is very inaccurate. Susan Sontag herself, a photographic theorist, would definitely agree that photographs are a form of capitalistic venure where its constant barrage and flow creates a spectacle out of world events which allows the ruling class to keep surveillance on the world and media. Surveillance is the key word here, where the artist is simply not allowed to retreat inside his or herself like an all-romantic fantasy any longer. Whatever must flow into the machine of knowledge must have relevance to this wide body of knowledge, and such, a larger percentage of the unfamiliar and 'pre-constructed thought' is left, as Kaprow would mention, to die in the gallery once it has been submitted forever for incarceration.

A solution is to begin finding spaces which do not recontextualize the object into a self-serving one (as in, a possible self-serving gallery space), but spaces which ultimately serve the need of a world constantly under surveillance and need for relational aesthetic as opposed to 'original' aesthetic. Which is most everything modernism stood for : the powerful auteur who could only create originality. Not to say nothing anymore is original, but no matter how innovative something in the 21st century looks, it is a reference point back to an original simulation.

Trying to steal from the store of 'indulged fantasy'? Hard these days.

I think about the idea of simulation itself, in regards to modernism/post-modernism, it terms of collecting intellectual property for one's self and not letting that copyright material get into the wrong hands (which are any hands but the own hands). How much of that 'intellectual property' can one person actually call their own? This is where mere intent escapes as a scape goat for the artist because that doesn't work in the world of dollar bills (because everything is commodified right?... we can put price tags on it?...). Everything seems appropriated, and my fear of it is that anything original in this modern age will in turn be 'unoriginal'.. In which there's a 'lack of it'. Whatever will be innovated is just a play off something that existed before. Whatever is new is a re-render of something retro. And whatever that is actually innovative will be in too meager amounts of a more glamourous time... Until the art game (society?) itself is reversed on its polars and has a epiphany of cataclysmic proportions.

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