Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Abstraction and Metamodernism, a way forward?..

Is there a way forward for abstraction through the 'metamodernist' position of Luke Turner based upon and with reference to the notion of Metamodernism as described by Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in 'Notes on metamodernism' (Journal of Aesthetics & Culture, Vol. 2, 2010) or do we not need to define such a standpoint through manifestos anymore?..Abstraktion would like to hear your ideas?... 

Metamodernism Manifesto/ Luke Turner

1.We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.

2. We must liberate ourselves from the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child.

3. Movement shall henceforth be enabled by way of an oscillation between positions, with diametrically opposed ideas operating like the pulsating polarities of some colossal electric machine, propelling the world into action.

4. We acknowledge the limitations inherent to all movement and experience, and the futility of any attempt to transcend the boundaries set forth therein. The essential incompleteness of a system should necessitate an adherence, not in order to achieve a given end or be slaves to its course, but rather perchance to glimpse by proxy some hidden exteriority. Existence is enriched if we set about our task as if those limits might be exceeded, for such action unfolds the world.

5. All things are caught up within the irrevocable slide towards a state of maximum entropic dissemblance. Artistic creation is contingent upon the origination or revelation of difference therein. Affect at its zenith is the unmediated experience of difference in itself. It must be art’s role to explore the promise of its own paradoxical ambition by coaxing excess towards presence.

6. The present is a symptom of the twin birth of immediacy and obsolescence. The new technology enables the simultaneous experience and enactment of events from a multiplicity of positions. Far from signalling its demise, these emergent networks facilitate the democratisation of history, illuminating the forking paths along which its grand narratives may navigate the here and now.

7. Just as science strives for poetic elegance, artists might assume a quest for truth. All information is grounds for knowledge, whether empirical or aphoristic, no matter its truth-value. We should embrace the scientific-poetic synthesis and informed naivety of a magical realism. Erroneousness breeds sense.

8. We propose a pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage. Thus,metamodernism shall be defined as the mercurial condition that lies betweenbeyond and in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and fragmentary positions. We must go forth and oscillate.


  1. Well at the very least it's interesting. Thanks for posting it. Lots of reading...and thinking now to do. As a student of systems thinking in organisations I have some thoughts about oscillation: we tend to 'do it to ourselves'. In production/distribution systems for example, when external demand is steady internal systems exhibit (sometimes wild) oscillation. If we could be permited to think of external demand as 'nature' we could say that oscillation is an 'artificial' experience.
    I love point 2!

  2. Thanks Andy, I'm not sure how seriously I can take the manifesto, and I like your points, after years of being dubious about manifesto's I am coming round to thinking that this may be what is lacking in the current climate, a clear declaration of shared values? and could be useful in defining current practice, internationally? and have a little fun along the way, as in point 2...?

  3. As with the above I'm not sure how far this is meant to be serious (though it was enjoyable).

    What does it seem to propose: a sort of strident and intentionally contradictory creative outpouring underpinned by a 21st century update of Futurist techno-fetishism. To me (though I'm not an expert) to the extent that "the mercurial condition that lies between, beyond and in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and fragmentary positions" has a translatable (rather than a poetic) meaning it just seems a new post-modernism.

    Though this would seem to be in opposition to its desire to simultaneously adopt different positions, I would be more turned on by a list of 8 concrete demands for what the art that is envisioned (if this envisioning exists?) would actually look or feel like...

  4. I agree, do we need theorists to suggest the way forward after such a 'heavy' theory era. However, a way forward needs to be defined, why not here! Is there an artwork by a contemporary, or historical, artist that suggests this approach?..especially with regard to abstraction!?

  5. art is the plagiarism of truth. the metamodernist manifesto film: