Differences Between Modernism and Postmodernism

11:11:00 PM


Being that this topic is widely used in art history classes and theory classes,  reading up on Modernism and Postmodernism is more like refreshing my memory from back when I was an undergraduate student.

Modernism attempts to construct a coherent world-view whereas postmodernism attempts to remove the difference between high and low. During the modernist era, art and literary works were considered unique creations of the artists. People were serious about the purpose of producing art and literary works. These works were believed to bear a deep meaning, novels and books predominated society. During the postmodernist era, with the onset of computers, media and advancements in technology, television and computers became dominant in society. Art and literary works began to be copied and preserved by the means of digital media. People no longer believed in art and literary works bearing one unique meaning; they rather believed in deriving their own meanings from pieces of art and literature. Interactive media and Internet led to distribution of knowledge. Music like Mozart, Beethoven, which was appreciated during modernism became less popular in the postmodern era. World music, Djs and remixes characterized postmodernism. The architectural forms that were popular during modernism were replaced by a mix of different architectural styles in the postmodern times.

In today's society, we are stuck in this postmodernist lifestyle. Everything is computer based and technology is continuously advancing. For example, video games. Let's take two video games, Mirror's Edge and Assassins Creed. If you look at Mirror's Edge, the scenes are clean, straight lined, and bright. The game play has a clear distinction between good and evil.  It s "linear". Assassins Creed scenes are realistic surroundings yet it is fake like in a dream or a genetic fog. Good and evil are continually unclear. Honor and faith are held in higher esteem. It is a "sandbox". I could go on and on about these games but the bigger picture remains. Modernism is about absolutes, clean contrasts, straight lines, and form over function. Postmodernism is about ambiguity, multiple paths, and relative meaning.

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