Thursday, February 05, 2009

backlash blues...

In The Conspiracy of Art, Jean Baudrillard questions the privilege attached to art by its practitioners. Art has lost all desire for illusion: feeding back endlessly into itself, it has turned its own vanishment into an art unto itself. Postmodernity, with its signature characteristic of visual menagerie and pastiche of infinite images and symbols, appropriates any and all possibilities, irrespective and transcendent of, reality and rationality. When one contemplates how we exist constantly enveloped in weak ties of superficiality,in a constant state of liminality, desensitized to our immediate world, it is almost overwhelming.

Art is simultaneously of life, yet different, incapable of encapsulating the experience of life, while also transcending its limitation as to be almost indispensable to society and culture. Modernity is fundamentally about order: about rationality and rationalization, creating order out of chaos. The assumption is that creating more rationality is conducive to creating more order, and that the more ordered a society is, the better it will function (the more rationally it will function). Because modernity is about the pursuit of ever-increasing levels of order, modern societies constantly are on guard against anything and everything labeled as "disorder," which might disrupt order. 

Modern societies rely on continually establishing a binary opposition between "order" and "disorder," so that they can assert the superiority of "order." Books, plays, and movies becomes cultural artifacts and can be seen as snapshots of contemporaneous spectacle capable of being remembered and admired without the baggage of particular sociocultural paradigms in which they were spawned. Rather than assert absolutes, postmodern works of art elicit individual interpretations, personal stories of responsive consciousness. embrace contradiction and diversity. 

A postmodern concept to art thus totally rejects the difference between ‘high’ and ‘low’ forms. It also rejects hard genre boundaries and favors eclecticism, the integration of forms and ideas. Postmodern works also evidence the belief that there is no distinction between reality and fiction, much like there is no inherent relationship between words and the objects they are meant to signify. This presents quite a challenge, in terms of constructing original and creative ideas when objects are merely simulacrum. 

"The only absolute truth is that there are no absolute truths"

~Paul Feyerabend

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