Monthly Archives: November 2012

Modernism and Postmodernism- who cares?


When I heard any word even remotely like modernism, renaissance, fauvism, post modernism, and basically any word with “ism” at the end  I automatically dread having to listen to information about it because it goes in one ear and out the other.  But in this class I actually learnt some stuff about modernism and postmodernism which I normally would have blanked out.  We started off talking about modernism and how it began at the time of the industrial revolution when everything was industrialised and a microcosm of modern life.  I never quite knew the definition before but that lecture taught me that modernism completely dismisses anything that came before it and people were making things from modern materials and making them very minimalistic.  I would say modernism is very independent because it has the attitude of being original and different from everybody else and the competition of trying to be the next one to come up with a new outstanding idea that was never heard of before.  Even though modernism is independent I would also say its dependant in other aspects for example, modernism is obsessed with knowing about itself, where we come from and where we’re going.  Psychology and sociology was formed in the modernism period because of his sort of thinking.  These practises’ also started challenging religion and questioning old values and ideas.  Modernism developed a strong interest in the future; in moving forward and believing we were going somewhere.


Postmodernism doesn’t really follow any guidelines like modernism does.  It doesn’t say new is wrong, old is better or religion is the way forward.  With postmodernism anything goes!  Some traits of postmodernism is the principal that it’s always about you and how you see things, it’s not about the thing itself it’s about how you see it and in some case’s how you interpret it.   Here are the characteristics of postmodernism:

Shallowness-   An example of this is the Blair Witch Project, we know nothing about the characters or why their camping out and have no intentions of wanting to find it out; we are more interested in what’s going to happen to them next.  No depth to our interest in the story.  Another example of this characteristic was 9/11.  The thing we remember most about that tragedy wasn’t the people being killed or how it was making America paranoid and therefore destroying itself from within.  The thing we remember most is the scene of the airplanes going into the buildings and how immoral it is that some people would say it’s the best postmodernism piece of art yet.

Intertextuality- This is the blurring of distinctions between genres.  A great example of this is Pulp Fiction; it combines a range of films.

Non-linear Narrative- Emphasis on fragmented forms and random seeming collages of different material.  Example of this is the Twitter Novel where you can jump about from different pages and the information is still readable.

Knowing-ness- You always know you’re doing something.  Tendency towards reflexivity, self-consciousness.  We can get away with things because people know were intentionally doing it.

Minimalism- Letting a simple idea stand on its own.

Anything goes- A rejection of the distinction between ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture.  Both depends on choice of materials used to produce art and in methods of displaying and consuming art.

Art is good in their own right depending on their field.­­


Presenting the New- Exhibition and Publication.

                In this lecture we started off by looking at David Shrigley.  I love his work because it makes people talk and takes the hand at particular things in society today and he makes illustrations to do with topics that society try to avoid.  This then carried on to a piece for the City of Culture that was recently placed in the guildhall (  These two topics were a representation of how the artists themselves see the industry as being ridiculous and they exploit it to their advantage.   It was also a lesson for us to be sure of what we’re exhibiting of our own work because they will be the pieces that we will be known for and have attached to our names for our career.

                We also talked about digital space and how we can use the publication of Facebook and apps to make exhibitions for ourselves and change that sort of application so that we can benefit from it.  Although we are told to use these applications and websites to our advantage there is also a very blurred line between public and private information and it is mostly because of apps like Four Square, Facebook, Twitter etc. that we have to be very careful about.  These apps make it very easy for everybody to know your business and everything that you doing so it is vital that we think about what we are publishing on these social networking sites and websites like blogs etc.

One main topic of this lecture was our Simulacra.  It’s a representation of what people think about us, for example the impressions we give people, the information that we give about ourselves over the internet that give people particular impressions about us and our personalities.  It’s been said that nobody could know the real you, not even people that are with you 24/7 so it is crucial what stories we tell about ourselves because these will be the imprints that we leave in people’s minds.  Two main artists that control their own simulacra are Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst.  For them it’s not about the Art it’s about the concept behind it.  They know how to work the art industry to their advantage.  Their art pieces may not be gorgeous paintings or amazing works of art but because they get people talking and cause controversy they become desirable and this all adds to their Simulacra.  Art should always be a provocation and it should always ask questions about the future and I believe these two artist come under these two rules.

Even though there is a blurry line between publication and privacy with the internet there are a lot of pro’s to using digital space.  It makes getting your own work seen and out there very easy, it gives you the control to get yourself noticed.  The 3D printer would tie in with this as you could make your own product from the comfort of your home or if you get a chance to use an industrial 3D printer and you can use social networking sites and websites to advertise and distribute your item.  All of this means you can create yourself a business overnight.  Some websites that you can upload your work to for free may have over thousands or millions of members and all it takes is 2 seconds for you to create yourself an online gallery and have the potential to be seen by all those people.   These websites also give you the chance to get feedback on your work and improve it.  One major thing that has recently been advertised is the Google glasses and I would advise everybody to watch the promotional video for them ( ), it is a great example of the positive things that can come of the digital space.

                Overall I learnt that our own Simulacra is VERY important especially if we want to be in the art industry as what we put out there will be tied with our name.  We have to control our own Simulacra and put out there what we want to be seen.


At the start of our lecture we had about sound I wasn’t sure what it really had to do with my course and design. But I listened anyways and near the end I realised how it was related to design when our lecturer showed us one of her projects where she made a product where sound was an essential component in it. Our lecturer introduced some of us to a musician called John Cage. He was a musician that looked deeply into the meaning of silence and done various experiments on it. He’s final results and conclusion was that he believed there’s no such thing as silence because even if you’re in a sound proof booth, if you listen long enough you will start to hear your heart beating and the blood flow through your veins. So with this fascinating conclusion he conducted a piece that coincided with this theory. The performance is in the link provided with this blog entry and I would advise everybody to watch it and see what you think so yourself. Personally I don’t find it as amazing as most people do. I agree that it is a very well planned out statement and gets a lot of people talking and provokes emotions wither its positive or negative, so it serves it purpose. But I think it was a very weird way of showing it and when we listened to him in an interview to he was an odd character but he must have had a very interesting outlook on aspects of life if he picked up on some things people didn’t, which I’d give him credit for.