The Death of Postmodernism and Emergence of Altermodernism

The Death of Postmodernism and Emergence of Altermodernism
Jeff Squires
  • 24 february 2009

For the Tate Triennial 2009, which opened on February 3, curator Nicolas Bourriaud declares that postmodernism is over and that we are experiencing the emergence of a global ‘altermodernity.’

Bourriaud, the French cultural theorist and co-founder of the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, believes that a new form of art is emerging, fueled by non-stop communication and globalization.  He explains that altermodernism is a “sort of dream catcher attempting to capture the characteristics of a modernity specific to the 21st century.”

Regine Debatty of We Make Money Not Art summarizes his theory quite nicely:

If early twentieth-century Modernism is characterised as a broadly Western cultural phenomenon, and Postmodernism was shaped by ideas of multi-culturalism, origins and identity, Altermodern is expressed in the language of a global culture. Altermodern artists channel the many different forms of social and technological networks offered by rapidly increasing lines of communication and travel in a globalised world.

The Guardian also has an interesting interpretation:

Altermodernism, if I understand it, is international art that never quite touches down but keeps on moving through places and ideas, made by artists connected across the globe rather than grouped around any central hub such as New York or London. You might take the worldwide web as a model and think in terms of hyperlinks, continuous updates and cultural hybrids. It is most definitely postcolonial, transitional and to some extent provisional, but what it is not, I don’t think, is anything as grand, or significant, as a movement.

Sounds a lot like many of our discussions on the creative class.

Tate Triennial 2009


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