Reducing Postmodernism


What is postmodernism? It would break the mould to explain the whole idea of this flux. There are a lot of seminal texts describing the phenomena of post-modernism or hyper-modernism, but the categorization of this decade seems not be simple and is controversially debated.

Post-modernism is known as a period, which was firstly mentioned in 1870, but it started to be discussed and propagated in the 1960s with its whole socialisation and width reception mostly in the US. It encompasses architecture, art, music, philosophy and sociology and many other different spheres, even in international relations. If you think about postmodernism you may associate names like Le Corbusier, Foucault, John Cage or Derrida. But it seems that we have never understood the ideas or the work of these people. It remains still a perpetual process of discovery. Though, there is little new to show, it is only a connection between the past achievements and our eclectic creative phase. There are voices telling that the next “post-post-modern” times are descending.

Are we at the end of history as Fukuyama illustrated? Can we still talk about progress in culture? And what is culture? Is is just a buzzword for everyday practices or is it ‘high art’ like Tchaikovsky and Kandinsky. The only severe progress that can be seen belongs to three disciplines: science, economy and consumption in all its forms. But let’s make an attempt and categorize our current trends. It is all about retro with a small eclectic breeze of matching the lifestyle of past decades in one. It’s not the purpose to create perpetually something new, but it is a question of identification and classification of our time in present and also for the future. How is the cultural world constituted we are living in? The aesthetical judgement is mainly based on post-modern philosophy, art and design – a spirit of relativism and epistemological crisis, no matter if we take arts, economics or politics.

I would suggest to put our decades also in the time of a post-modern ambivalence, because the unsolvable problems of globalization, politics, environment, economy, which are implicitly discussed in music, art, fashion and architecture are nearly the same like 30 years before, maybe being more harsh. But we should still, at least, try to encounter the everyday life as something special, trying to find new forms of expression. If you are interested in a very brief but still comprehensive introduction to post-modern approaches and notions we can recommend you a very short introduction in Postmodernism published by Oxford University Press.