Quick guide to postmodernism (was: Re: Gibson (was: Re: Computer chicken))

Subject: Quick guide to postmodernism (was: Re: Gibson (was: Re: Computer chicken))
From: Eliot Handelman (eliot@generation.net)
Date: Sat Oct 01 2005 - 19:33:30 EDT

bill thompson wrote:

>hi eliot,
>do you have any books that might relate some of the
>more subtle aspects of p.m. to time-based media (sonic
>art, but not limited to) that you could recommend? or
>does anyone else?
It's very easy to understand what PM is about in music (or
"postmusical") terms.

Schoenberg was modern. Glass is postmodern. One has an inner system of
secret codes. The
other put his system on the surface. Importantly, the result "sounds
good." This is because
if it sounded bad, that would be a kind of appeal to an inner
adjustment. In PM there's no such thing
as "inner".

PM means "we're living in an increasingly externalized world." There are
certain analogies that
can be made with schizophrenia. The main thing that happens in
schizophrenia is the disintegration
of self. In the same way, "life outside" in the PM world involves
seriously rethinking what
we mean by saying "I."

There isn't a very clear test to find out whether a given work of art is
postmodern or
not, which suggests that PM is still *a bit* of an "inner" topic. In the
future, we won;t have to
worry about this: the distinctions between "the right art" and "the
wrong art" will be crystal clear.

You can use that as a kind of test by asking the following question:
"does this art seem to contribute to
the idea that art should be unambiguously right?"

If it goes off into reality, for example, then the answer could be
"yes," because if art has to be real
then "the wrong kind of art" will seem to be wrong because it's not real
enough. "Real" here
has to mean "physical, embodied reality." The imagination is not
enough. Verification is required.

does that help?

-- eliot


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