Alter2

Rirkrit Tiravanija, DO NOT EVER WORK (Chair edition) 2016

The Altermodern, as coined by Bourriaud, assumes the end of post-modernism. He argues that though post-modernism has  an inherent value, it is no longer necessarily relevant in today’s world. There is a pervasive fear of the shifting dynamic of society and global culture; of the unfamiliar allegiances and relationships that are being created that negate the idea of a sole, identifiable origin. Post-modernism, according to Bourriaud, was obsessed with this idea of the artist’s origin and how culture, traditions, and geographical biography played a part in their work. The artists chosen for the Tate Triennial “are starting from a globalised state of culture — not anymore working as logotypes of their own culture, or their own tradition. The question is not anymore where are you coming from but where are you going to?” The exhi­bition includes artists such as Subodh Gupta, Tacita Dean, and Gustav Metzger, and examines how their work fits into, and is emblematic of, this theory of the Altermodern.” [Niamh Coghlan The End of Postmodernism]

Stephen Prina, galesburg, illinois+, John Cage, Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois, April 1983, Photographer unknown. All documentation of John Cage’s visit to Knox College in February 1972— including photographic documentation and an audio recording of his talk—is missing from the Knox College Library. This photograph holds the place of the earlier event., 2015

“Prina’s project presents the small Midwestern city of his birth via an aerial photograph (Harbor Lights Supper Club, Galesburg, Illinois, 1947–1986, former site, 2015, Photography: Foley Photo Studio, Galesburg, Illinois, 2018), artifacts (a penny acquired as change at a Galesburg drug store and a photograph from the Knox College Library in Galesburg), and two anecdotes, which appear as wall texts in the gallery. In one of these epigraphs, the artist describes an unexpected cameo by his hometown supper club in a video screened at the Kitchen in New York. In the other, Prina recounts performing in a band at the local Taco Hideout Lounge, only to discover that John Cage may have been in the audience.
These stories about the collapse of perceived distance (physical or cultural) add another dimension to his long-running series Exquisite Corpse: The Complete Paintings of Manet, 1988–, in which the artist produces brushy monochromatic analogues of each work in Manet’s catalogue raisonné. Monochrome painting was once seen as a transcendent conclusion to the progression of modern aesthetics. But within the exhibition’s matrix of personal biography, the 45-degree (right-handed?) back-and-forth strokes of Prina’s abstract ink-wash drawings are notably grounded in the ineffable complexity of context while offering deadpan matter-of-factness to the supposedly subjective gesture.” [David Muenzer on Stephen Prina]

“The next real literary ‘rebels’ in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the ‘Oh how banal!’ To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law.” [David Foster Wallace on the end of Postmodernism]

There is a permanent collapse between image and text in this film. It is a filmic language that I have been experimenting with for a while – a language against the grammar that we would normally be used to, and which is deeply rooted with conventional norms. There is no ground you can just walk on, you need to create a path while watching, to develop while you are experiencing. I am interested in testing possibilities of new ways of seeing. When you say “beyond meaning”, I think it creates another meaning, but with a permanent collapse somehow. It’s not giving you the comfort of knowing, but it’s mixing images together, and in a way developing something else, knowledge beyond meaning. It is like drifting with images in a more haptic visuality. It functions almost like the sense of touch by triggering all forms of bodily experience.
As the spectator you are totally embodied (embedded?) in the images – the eye is an organ of touch. It travels like the camera on the surfaces, which means it is like caressing and entering (or intruding upon) an image. [Ursula Mayer in conversation with Maud Jacquin]

‘The forces that once drove postmodernism seem now to be depleted, however. Postmodernism rejected grand narratives, including those of religion, the concept of progress and of history itself. Angela Carter’s fiction, and particularly The Bloody Chamber, provides a clear example of the typical postmodernist impulse: in rewriting traditional fairy-tales she subverts grand narratives of gender, sexuality and female subjectivity. In contrast, in today’s cultural climate there appears to be a renewed engagement with history and a revival of mythic meaning-making that the arch-postmodernists would have abhorred. Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being (2013), for example, relates interconnecting histories – among them the story of a Japanese Kamikaze pilot in the Second World War and the 2011 Tōhoku Earthquake and Tsunami in Japan, contextualizing both in a history of ideas, by reflecting throughout on the principles of Zen Buddhism.” [Alison Gibbons Postmodernism is Dead]

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