presenting the quixotic postmodern

PPM:  The STD* You’re Most Likely to Catch
*Something Terribly Depressing

 

We all come by different streets:

 

We’ve all heard that “geek” is the new “cool” or whatever.

 

There’s a myriad of variations on this theme, and in away, that idea of many variations on a theme, many takes on a situation, is what post-postmodernism, or what I’m calling quixotic postmodernism, is about.

 

Part of the reason that this acceptance of many perspectives seems to have became/become/will become integral and important to many contemporary cultures is the emergence of the ideals of the quixotic postmodern.

 

The postmodern, from which the quixotic postmodern is formed, exists in a state of carnival and carnivalesque where all is inverted and mocked, discursive and a perpetual charivari.

 

Good words, yeah?

 

The quixotic postmodern takes this revelry one step further (okay, sometimes we zooooooooooooooooooooom ahead completely off the steps, but you get the idea), and not only appropriate the fun and whimsy of the postmodern, but also acknowledge that the subject-object dialecticism and mockery are recursive and dependent upon each other, that in being skeptical and suspicious, deprecating and mocking of that which is appropriated/subject-/objectified, the artist is doing the same to themselves and their interests.

 

In short, postmodernism is emo-with-a-butterknife-hipstery, and quixotic postmodernism is punk-destroy-the-world-because-everyone-sucks-(including us)-hip.

 

Yet there really isn’t the fatalism or nihilism to the quixotic postmodern that is usually associated with the postmodern.  Just a if-we’re-going-to-die-anyway-we’re-going-to-have-fun quirkiness; there is fun, liminality (and reveling in our liminality), and loads of bad jokes.

 

Have you seen the working title of this book?

 

There is a focus on self-pleasure and performative action.

 

There is reverent irreverence and a whole lot of autobiographical subjectivity/objectivity.

 

There is a desire for craft to match concept and for art-making to be an extension of self-awareness rather than the next money-making venture or political protest.  Although political protest/reform are completely within the purview of the quixotic postmodernism, there is a need to not take oneself too seriously.

 

A lot of times when we’re trying to change the world, it’s less about the world and more about us on a personal level.

 

For example, whereas the postmodern generation of the 60s and after felt/feel that two plus two didn’t quite equal four (Conkelten and Eliel, 11), the quixotic postmodern generation feels that two plus two equals five given sufficiently high values of two.

 

*gestures*  We also have a tendency to reference TV and movies and music and purely sub-cultural thingies at the drop of a hat.

 

While this might sound optimistic, it isn’t necessarily; rather, two plus two not equaling four implies that there is something wrong with the world and is frightening and disconcerting, and two plus two equaling five implies that there’s something not quite right with the world and we, as makers and thinkers and dreamers (<——soooooo cliché), revel in it.

 

In quixotic postmodern, art is multivalent and hypertextual, meta-everything (to the point where meta and hyper are all that’s left sometimes!) while the craft/concept aspects are individual.

 

Quixotic postmodern art is quantum, meaning that the quixotic postmodern and art exist because of an agreed upon reality, an accepted ideal.

 

The quixotic postmodernists are the successors to Picasso’s impatience with form, Duchamp’s insistence that the artist gets the final say in their work, Kandinsky’s use of his non-art interests in his art, Messanger’s disregard of the “rules” of art, and McCullough’s emphasis on craft and form.

 

We’re tricksters.

 

We’re impatient.

 

We’re going to do what we’re going to do because, sometimes, you have to be willing to go where you have been told not to go.

 

We’re brave.

 

We’re belligerent.

 

(Can I get a “We’re Dada”?)

 

We’re going to mock our art-teachers (be they people, books, etc.) with full awareness that we are mocking ourselves and the teachers we will inevitably become.

 

We’re comfortable with uncertainty and certain that uncertainty is all that is certain.

 

We’re grey even though black and white are easier.

 

We’re the products of pop culture and intellectual discourse.

6 comments

  1. Nice read, I came across it while searching for “Irreverence, punk” on google because that was the theme I was writing an article on myself.

    btw,
    We’re Dada

    Like

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