Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Eighties Again

From the Condition of Postmodernity by David Harvey

Modernism on the left, postmodernism on the right.
romanticism/Symbolism:           paraphysics/Dadaism
form (conjunctive, closed):        antiform (disjunctive, open)
purpose:                                      play
design:                                        chance
hierarchy:                                   anarchy
mastery/logos:                            exhaustion/silence
art object/finished work:            process/performance/happening
distance:                                     participation
creation/totalisation/synthesis:  decreation/deconstruction/antithesis
presence:                                    absence
centring:                                     dispersal
genre/boundary:                         text/intertext
semantics:                                  rhetoric
paradigm:                                   syntagm
hypotaxis:                                   parataxis
metaphor:                                   metonymy
selection:                                    combination
root/depth:                                  rhizome/surface
interpretation/reading:               against interpretation/isreading
signified:                                    signifier
lisible (readerly):                       scriptible (writerly)
narrative/grande histoire:           anti-narrative/petite histoire
master code:                               idiolect
symptom:                                   desire
type:                                           mutant
gential/phallic:                           polymorphous/androgynous
paranoia:                                    schizophrenia
origin/cause:                              difference-difference/trace
God the Father:                         the Holy ghost
metaphysics:                              irony
determinacy:                              indeterminacy
transcendence:                           immanence

We tried so hard to be post-modern in the 80s, avoiding list A and embracing list B. But it is quite difficult to pursue an activity while carefully avoiding anything like an end-point. I found myself collaborating with people who had apparently never worked on a project that produced something.

Column A doesn't just represent "modernism", it represents the Establishment and right-wing politics. And isn't it defining what appears in Column B? So that post-modernism couldn't exist without modernism?

More about the 80s here, and links to the rest.

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