From Modernism to Postmodernism to... ? This video series looks at developments in culture over the past 20+ years to try and understand our own present moment. If we are no longer in the "postmodern period" (as even the academics recognize), then where are we? What comes after postmodernism?
1. What (Really) Was
Postmodernism as a period is over, even if the critiques are piling up from all corners, left and right, from Jordan Peterson to Slavoj Zizek. Meanwhile, the world has diverged sharply from its neoliberal, globalist trajectory. So where are we headed now?
In this video, I begin my investigation into what comes after postmodernism, looking at some of the trends and reactions that are shaping the new cultural paradigm as of 2019.
2. The End of an Era
First I assess three influential readings of Postmodernism—those of Jean-François Lyotard, David Harvey, and Fredric Jameson—for a fuller understanding of the paradigm that has passed. From there, I look at the important critiques that were emerging in the '90s and '00s. This includes David Foster Wallace's famous essay
"E Unibus Pluram" as well as Linda Hutcheon's conclusion to The Politics of Postmodernism to find a new label for post-Postmodernism. Three proposals—remodernism, performatism, and metamodernism—will occupy us going forward.
3. Spirit and the Specter
Using Ihab Hassan's essay, "Beyond Post-modernism: Toward an Aesthetic of Trust," we chart our way from late postmodernism into its aftermath, noting the resurfacing of ideas like truth, trust, and spirit for meeting the demands of identity in a fractured world. I then offer my own analysis of what postmodernism really was, and use this to help explain key characteristics of the emerging post-postmodern sensibility. Crucial to this is what I am calling the 'return of dimensionality.'
What comes after postmodernism? I start examining the first of three proposed paradigms: Remodernism. Begun by British artists reacting against the institutionalization of postmodern art in the early 2000s, this impulse is still reverberating today, with echoes in the Kitsch movement and the revival of realism and narrative/representational art.
Next, we turn to a post-postmodern paradigm proposed by Raoul Eshelman, "performatism," characterized by "artistically mediated belief." As an example of this performatist sensibility, we look at Life of Pi, and see how "beautiful belief" is maintained within the frame of the artistic work, creating an experience of transcendence while holding skepticism in check for the duration of the work. But if transcendence can be felt, what does one do after the work has ended? Performatism opens up new vistas of meaning and belief beyond postmodernism.
Finally, we come to metamodernism, the most comprehensive post-postmodern paradigm articulated by Tim Vermeulen, Robin van den Akker, and Alison Gibbons. Specifically, we examine their metaphor of metamodernism's "oscillation" between modern and postmodern categories, the idea of "depthiness," and the "neo-romantic" turn,