PDF download for Book review: Alan Kirby, Digimodernism: How New, Article Information Kirby, A () The death of postmodernism and beyond. How does the shift into digimodernism radically alter society, further upsetting Alan. Kirby calls this shift digimodernism, and it is this digimodern theory that is. Alan Kirby says postmodernism is dead and buried. In its place comes a new paradigm of authority and knowledge formed under the pressure of new.

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To have complete access to kiirby thousands of philosophy articles on this site, please. It assumes that postmodernism is alive, thriving and kicking: This might suggest that postmodernism is contemporary, but the comparison actually shows that it is dead and buried. Postmodern philosophy emphasises the elusiveness of meaning and knowledge.

This is often expressed in postmodern art as a concern with representation and an ironic self-awareness. And the argument that postmodernism is over has already been made philosophically. The weakness in this analysis is that it centres on the academy, on the practices and suppositions of philosophers who may or may not be shifting ground or about to shift — and many academics will simply decide that, finally, they prefer to stay with Foucault [arch postmodernist] than go over to anything else.

However, a far more compelling case can be made that postmodernism is dead by looking outside the academy at current cultural production. Johnson — and the same applies. The reason why the primary reading on British postmodernism fictions modules is so old, in relative terms, is that it has digimodednism been rejuvenated. Just look out into the cultural market-place: Similarly, one can go to literary conferences as I did in July and sit through a dozen papers which make no mention of Theory, of Derrida, Foucault, Baudrillard.

The sense of superannuation, kkrby the impotence and the dgiimodernism of so much Theory among academics, also bears testimony to the passing of postmodernism.

The people who produce the cultural material which academics and non-academics read, watch and listen to, have simply given up on postmodernism.

This is kibry level to which postmodernism has sunk; a source of marginal digimodeernism in pop culture aimed at the under-eights. I believe there is more to this shift than a simple change in cultural fashion.

The Death of Postmodernism And Beyond | Issue 58 | Philosophy Now

The terms by which authority, knowledge, selfhood, reality and time are conceived have been altered, suddenly and forever. There is digimoderhism a gulf between most lecturers and their students akin to the one which appeared in the wlan s, but not for the same kind of reason.

The shift from modernism to postmodernism did not stem from any profound reformulation in the conditions of cultural production and reception; all that happened, to rhetorically exaggerate, was that the kind of people who had once written Ulysses and Alxn the Lighthouse wrote Pale Fire and The Bloody Chamber instead. But somewhere in the late s or early s, the emergence of new technologies re-structured, violently and forever, the nature of the author, the reader and the text, and the relationships between them.

Postmodernism, like modernism and romanticism before it, fetishised [ie placed supreme importance on] the author, even alaj the author chose to indict or pretended to abolish him or herself.

But the culture we have now fetishises the recipient of the text to the degree that they become a partial or whole author of it. Optimists may see this as the democratisation of culture; digimodernsim will point to the excruciating banality and vacuity of the cultural products thereby generated at least so far.

Postmodernism conceived of contemporary culture as a spectacle before which the individual sat powerless, and within which questions of the real were problematised.

It therefore emphasised the television or the cinema screen.

“It’s really something”: What is Digimodernism?

By definition, pseudo-modern cultural products cannot and do not exist unless the individual intervenes physically in them. Great Expectations will exist materially whether anyone reads it or not. Its material production and its constitution were decided by its suppliers, that is, its author, publisher, serialiser etc alone — only the meaning was the domain of the reader. Big Brother on the other hand, to take a typical pseudo-modern cultural text, would not exist materially if nobody phoned up to vote its contestants off.

Voting is thus part of the material textuality of the programme — the telephoning viewers write the programme themselves. If it were not possible for viewers to write sections of Big Brotherit would then uncannily resemble an Andy Warhol film: Pseudo-modernism also encompasses contemporary news programmes, whose content increasingly consists of emails or text messages sent in commenting on the news items.


Pseudo-modernism also includes computer games, which similarly place the individual in a context where they invent the cultural content, within pre-delineated limits.

The content of each individual act of playing the game varies according to the particular player. The pseudo-modern cultural phenomenon par excellence is the internet. In all cases, it is intrinsic to the internet that you can easily make up pages yourself eg blogs. If the internet and its use define and dominate pseudo-modernism, the new era has also seen the revamping of older forms along its lines.

Digimodernism: How New Technologies Dismantle the Postmodern and Reconfigure Our Culture

Cinema in the pseudo-modern age looks more and more like a computer game. And they look it. Where once special effects were supposed to make the impossible appear credible, CGI frequently [inadvertently] works to make the possible look artificial, as in much of Lord of digimodefnism Rings or Gladiator.

Battles involving thousands of individuals have really happened; pseudo-modern cinema makes them look as if they have only ever happened in cyberspace.

And so cinema has given cultural ground not merely to the computer as a generator of its images, but to the computer game as the model of its relationship with the viewer. Similarly, television in the pseudo-modern age favours not only reality TV yet another unapt termbut also shopping channels, and quizzes in which the viewer calls to guess the answer to riddles in the hope of winning money. It also favours phenomena like Ceefax and Teletext.

But rather than bemoan the new situation, it is more useful to find ways of making these kieby conditions conduits for cultural achievements instead of the vacuity currently evident. It is important here to see that whereas the form may change Big Brother may wither on the vinethe terms by which individuals alna to their television screen and consequently what broadcasters show have incontrovertibly changed.

A pseudo-modern text lasts an exceptionally brief time. Unlike, say, Fawlty Towersreality TV programmes cannot be repeated in their original form, since the phone-ins zlan be reproduced, and without the possibility of phoning-in they become a different digimoderinsm far less attractive entity. Ceefax text dies after a few hours. If scholars give the date they referenced an internet page, it is because the pages disappear or get radically re-cast so quickly.

Text messages and emails are extremely difficult to keep in their original form; printing out emails does convert digimdoernism into something more stable, like a letter, but only by destroying their essential, electronic state.

Radio phone-ins, computer games — their shelf-life is short, they are very soon obsolete. A culture based on these things can have no memory — certainly not the burdensome sense of a preceding cultural inheritance which informed modernism and postmodernism. Non-reproducible and digimodernsim, pseudo-modernism is thus also amnesiac: The content of pseudo-modern films tends to be solely the acts which beget and which end life.

Much text messaging and emailing is vapid in comparison with what people of all educational levels used to put into letters. A triteness, a shallowness dominates all. The pseudo-modern era, at least so far, is a cultural desert.

Although we may grow so used to the new terms that we can adapt them for meaningful artistic expression and then the pejorative label I have given pseudo-modernism may no longer be appropriatefor now we are confronted by a storm of human activity producing almost nothing of any lasting or even reproducible cultural value — anything which human beings might look at again and appreciate in fifty or two hundred years time.

The roots of pseudo-modernism can be traced back through the years dominated by postmodernism. Dance music and industrial pornography, for instance, products of the late 70s and 80s, tend to the ephemeral, to the vacuous on the level of signification, and to the unauthored dance much more so than pop or rock. But a shift has occurred, in that what was a marginal pastime of the fan has become the dominant and definitive way of consuming music, rendering the idea of the album as a coherent work of art, a body of integrated meaning, obsolete.

To a degree, pseudo-modernism is no more than a technologically motivated shift to the cultural centre of something which has always existed similarly, metafiction has always existed, but was never so fetishised as it was by postmodernism. Television has always used audience participation, just as theatre and other performing arts did before it; but as an option, not as a necessity: But none of these implied a written or otherwise material text, and so they dwelt in the margins of a culture which fetishised such texts — whereas the pseudo-modern text, with all its peculiarities, stands as the central, dominant, paradigmatic form of cultural product today, although culture, in its margins, still knows other kinds.

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Moreover, the activity of pseudo-modernism has its own specificity: In postmodernism, one read, watched, listened, as before. In pseudo-modernism one phones, clicks, presses, surfs, chooses, moves, downloads. There is a generation gap here, roughly separating people born before and after Those born later might see their peers as free, autonomous, inventive, expressive, dynamic, empowered, independent, their voices unique, raised and heard: Those born before may see, not the people, but contemporary texts which are alternately violent, pornographic, unreal, trite, vapid, conformist, consumerist, meaningless and brainless see the drivel found, say, on some Wikipedia pages, or the lack of context on Ceefax.

To them what came before pseudo-modernism will increasingly seem a golden age of intelligence, creativity, rebellion and authenticity. Thus, pseudo-modernism suggests that whatever it does or makes is what is reality, and a pseudo-modern text may flourish the apparently real in an uncomplicated form: Along with this new view of reality, it is clear that the dominant intellectual framework has changed.

The academy, perhaps especially in Britain, is today so swamped by the assumptions and practices of market economics that it is deeply implausible for academics to tell their students they inhabit a postmodern world where a multiplicity of ideologies, world-views and voices can be heard.


Their every step hounded by market economics, academics cannot preach multiplicity when their lives are dominated by what amounts in practice to consumer fanaticism. The world has narrowed intellectually, not broadened, in the last ten years. Where Lyotard saw the eclipse of Grand Narratives, pseudo-modernism sees the ideology of globalised market economics raised to the level of the sole and over-powering regulator of all social activity — monopolistic, all-engulfing, all-explaining, all-structuring, as every academic must disagreeably recognise.

Pseudo-modernism is of course consumerist and conformist, a matter of moving around the world as it is given or sold. Bush, Blair, Bin Laden, Le Pen and their like on one side, and the more numerous but less powerful masses on the other. Pseudo-modernism belongs to a world pervaded by the encounter between a religiously fanatical segment of the United States, a largely secular but definitionally hyper-religious Israel, and a fanatical sub-section of Muslims scattered across the planet: In this context pseudo-modernism lashes fantastically sophisticated technology to the pursuit of medieval barbarism — as in the uploading of videos of beheadings onto the internet, or the use of mobile phones to film torture in prisons.

Beyond this, the destiny of everyone else is to suffer the anxiety of getting hit in the cross-fire. But this fatalistic anxiety extends far beyond geopolitics, into every aspect of contemporary life; from a general fear of social breakdown and identity loss, to a deep unease about diet and health; from anguish about the destructiveness of climate change, to the effects of a new personal ineptitude and helplessness, which yield TV programmes about how to clean your house, bring up your children or remain solvent.

This technologised cluelessness is utterly contemporary: He or she can direct the course of national television programmes, but does not know how to make him or herself something to eat — a characteristic fusion of the childish and the advanced, the powerful and the helpless.

This pseudo-modern world, so frightening and seemingly uncontrollable, inevitably feeds a desire to return to the infantile playing with toys which also characterises the pseudo-modern cultural world.

Here, the typical emotional state, radically superseding the hyper-consciousness of irony, is the trance — the state of being swallowed up by your activity. In place of the neurosis of modernism and the narcissism of kiby, pseudo-modernism takes the world awayby creating a new weightless nowhere of silent autism.

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