Po-Mo, Post-PoMo, Complexity, Networking, Globalization
Professor Martin Irvine

Modern to Post-Modern (Some Main Indicators):

  • Loss of a sense of historical origins in mass cultural production and appropriation: present and past cultures provide an encyclopedia of styles with contemporary meanings, rather than meanings located in history or in places of origin.
  • Loss of a sense of "purity" of origins, and an awareness of mixed identities, ethnicities, social classes, nationalities, language communities.
  • New justification for hybrid styles, cross-historical and cross-cultural appropriation.
  • Mixing high and low cultures, materials, sources, in mutual cross-sourcing and appropriation (art, fashion, music, popular media, photography, film, TV, advertising).
  • Loss of "master narratives" of cultural and national origins that justify or give meaning to present-day identities, destinies, or inevitable or predetermined futures.
  • Awareness of the ideological constructedness of idealized origins and utopias; acceptance of contingent and localized values.


Post-Postmodern to Globalization and International Culture

From Homi Bhabha, "The Location of Culture"

If the jargon of our times - postmodernity, postcoloniality, postfeminism - has any meaning at all, it does not lie in the popular use of the 'post' to indicate sequentiality - after-feminism; or polarity - anti-modernism. These terms that insistently gesture to the beyond, only embody its restless and revisionary energy if they transform the present into an expanded and ex-centric site of experience and empowerment.
The wider significance of the postmodern condition lies in the awareness that the epistemological 'limits' of those ethnocentric ideas are also the enunciative boundaries of a range of other dissonant, even dissident histories and voices - women, the colonized, minority groups, the bearers of policed sexualities.
The very concepts of homogenous national cultures, the consensual or contiguous transmission of historical traditions, or 'organic' ethnic communities - as the grounds of cultural comparativism - are in a profound process of redefinition.


Grids to Networks:
Network Complexity Replacing Linear Causality and Sequencing

  • Grids and rationalized structures being replaced by metaphors of Networks, Nodes and Systems for Organizing Complexity
  • Theoretical Concepts as Nodes in a Conceptual, Ideological, and Political Space
  • How have networks of all kinds become the infrastructure of the present post-postmodern era, facilitating and accelerating hybridity?
    • Digital Information Networks
    • Media Networks
    • Transportation Networks
    • Financial Networks
    • Market distribution networks
    • Social networks


Post-Production, Collage-Culture Aesthetics:

Nicolas Bourriaud's Postproduction (New York: Lukas and Sternberg, 2002)
Compare: Paul D. Miller (DJ Spooky), Sound Unbound


Interview with Bourriaud at the San Francisco Art Institute (2002)

KM: But, speaking of technology, in your book Post-Production, you talk about the sampler, the hacker and the programmer as different mechanisms for assembling the toolbox of history in a new context. Because of the conundrum of not being able to produce anything new, I find it interesting that your proposal for art is post-production: mining previously made work and recontextualizing it. That is what, if anything, could be considered new, the recontextualization of the already-made. I think that Post-Production is such an interesting follow-up to Relational Aesthetics.

NB: It's a prologue, in a way. Ten years ago, it would have been completely impossible to consider a DJ as an artist for example. Now, it's normal. Nobody would even think of saying "you're already playing pre-existing records, so you're not an artist." That's vanished. The idea of the artist as a kind of demi-god creating the world from a blank sheet of paper is something that has just vanished from our every day culture. The fact that the DJ or programmer or artist uses already existing forms in order to say what they want to say is something that is certainly the most important thing at the moment because it totally goes beyond the art world.

(For the complete argument about "postproduction," see Nicolas Bourriaud's Postproduction.)