Modernism And Postmodernism Cultural Studies Essay

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To begin with there are two different hypothetical positions. Main conventions that are able to explain the significances and causes behind educational activity were composed by cultural philosophers. These philosophers were used as a guide for future action. The world of theory is somewhat like a battle ground, with diverse academics, creating evidence for their own point of view.

Modernism and postmodernism are two schools of thoughts that governed the twentieth century. Links relating these changing ideas and the changes in cultural practice they are expected to reflect will be taken into account. Theories evolve with its era and include changes depending on facts. These theories help designers on studying its perspective and it is also a source of inspirations to these designers. Modernism and postmodernism theories both follow zeitgeist. As a matter of fact theories give different standpoint and it is difficult to differentiate between postmodernism and modernism

As historical environment changes, so do theories and although dominant theories can turn out to be very influential, there is often disagreement over this validity. Viewers are able to express their feelings and opinions according to their point of view thus can be confused between late modernism and post modernism.


There were many movements in modernism. The first ever movement that was created was the Bauhaus. This movement was working for the harmonization of the modernism. In fact modernism comprises of simplicity, precision, no use of emotion, design which is accessible for everyone and industrialized in such a way so that everyone can get access to it. Furthermore it consists of a collective work; it has an economy in the production and has an objective.

The movement of Bauhaus was classified in the modernism as it was really looking for clarity, simplicity for expression, geometric and the layout was also geographic. It consisted of very simple wordings and it was in search of ideal object. So it needs to be worldwide and suitable for everyone and even it was meant for the privileged.

Modern Movement had a great impact on British designers from the 1920s until the 1960s. Although its roots extend back to the nineteenth century, Modernism emerged as a logical, documented body of thought in First World War, and quickly became a global movement. Much has been written about Modernist theory, and it has had an impact in all areas of the arts, from music and literature, through to architecture and product design

Modernist designers wanted ideal forms for the product and architecture they created so that it can have a universal allure and regardless of the rank of the user. In this way design was regarded as a force, helping to produce an equitably, socially just world, and producing undying objects unaltered by the eccentric change of fashion. In order to attain these aims Modernist designers tried to take an objective view of the product they were designing. They had a belief that new products were fit for modern age and era only. They even rejected the fact of using new materials and technology.

However they rejected the using of ornaments, believing that the aesthetic of a product should be derived from its structural integrity rather than applied decoration or references to the past. Modernist wanted to reach a metaphysical or platonic form for their products.

These high heel shoes, were made for the spring 2008 rtw collection and is one among the list of products made by Marc jacobs who is the most famous american fashion designer of his generation.

This heel is considered as being another form of modernism which more precisely is late modernism. It has all the characteristics of a perfect late modernism object that is changing the position of the heel in an horizontal position to make it different as it is a new concept and as useful as the old pair of high heel shoe. Indeed as we can see, forms follow function as it was made purposely for an aim and it respects its function.

This modernist but modern design illustrates how designers have adapted themselves to the customization of product. Marc Jacobs is among the spirit of this generation, zeitgeist, and he knows the needs of his clientele. Basic colours were used and were made as simple as possible. These heels connote luxury, well being, originality and modern fashion design. These heels reflect the evolution of modernism to late modernism, how the structure or form has changed but keeping its original function and how the use of basic colours were used and were made as simple as possible.

These speakers were best sellers in 1973 for diatone and Mitsubishi. They have all the aspects of modernism that is a functional and rational design, simplicity in the form and colours. There is a harmony of design and nowadays is considered as classic.

In terms of their era these speakers were considered as culturally refined and they were made for bulk production and were easily accessible for all. Furthermore, designers were using minimalist forms and basic structures to their products. People were only interested only the quality of sound a period of time and were not bothered on the form of the product and it was regard as on the best quality sound.

International style (1945-1970)

It is a well structured building. And as we know one of the characteristic of modernism is the geometrical shape of the structure. The order and the structures are highly well defined. It is rational, that is it has a specific task. Its main function is to provide a shelter for people. Also it has a geometrical pattern, rectangular shapes; again we can see the purpose of the structure. The building is simple there are no complicated geometrical shapes. Modernism survives at this period of time because it was cheap to build modernism building.


Postmodernism seems to be like modernism in the ways like eliminating boundaries between high and low forms of art, but it differs from modernism in its attitude toward a lot of these movement. Modernism, for instance, tends to present a fragmented view of human subjectivity and history. Many modernist workings try to support the idea that works of art can provide the unity, logic, and sense which has been lost in most of modern life; art will do what other human institutions fail to do. Postmodernism, in contrast, doesn't lament the idea of reason, harmony, or incoherence, but rather celebrates that. The world is meaningless? Let's not pretend that art can make meaning then, let's just play with nonsense.

The social, economic, and environmental awareness of the period caused many to believe the modern aesthetic was no longer relevant in an emerging post industrial society. People in many fields embraced the term postmodernism to express a climate of cultural change. These included architects, economists, feminists, and even theologians. The ideas of modernism began to be questioned and this influenced all the areas of design. They tended to be grouped under the title post modernism in the last quarter of the twentieth century. Postmodernism gained a strong foothold among the generation of designers who emerged in the 1970s.

Postmodernism term used to designate a multitude of trends in the arts, philosophy, religion, technology, and many other areas that come after and deviate from the 20th century movements that constituted modernism. Postmodernism has also been said to relate to the culture of capitalism as it has developed since the 1960s and became prominent in the late 1970s and 80s. In general, the postmodern view is cool, ironic, and accepting of the fragmentation of contemporary existence. It tends to concentrate on surfaces rather than depths, to blur the distinctions between high and low culture, and as a whole to challenge a wide variety of traditional cultural values. Perhaps the international style had been so thoroughly refined, explored, and accepted that a backlash was inevitable.

Historical references, decoration. And the vernaculars were refused by modernists, while post-modern designers drew upon these resources to expand the range of design possibilities. Practitioners of postmodern architecture have tended to re emphasize elements of metaphor, symbol, and content in their work. They share an interest in mass, surface colors, and textures and frequently use unorthodox building materials. However, because postmodern architects have in common only a relatively vague ideology, the style is extremely varied. Postmodern design is very subjective and eccentric.

Modern Movements such as fauvism, cubism and futurism, Dada and surrealism, De stijl, Suprematism, constructivism, and expressionism directly influenced the graphic language of form and visual communications in the modernism period. Modern painting, poetry and architecture were closely related to the evolution of this period.

As shown, we can see the creation of 'Alexander Mcqueen's Gold sling back sandal with Woman Heel,' which can easily be distinguished as being postmodernism. Different shapes of the object; it has no geometrical shape or pattern. It goes against modernism the form does not follow the function and it is not rational.

This designer represents the movement of going against the flow of modernism that is going against simplicity and not following the old trend of design.

This picture communicates the evolution of thinking and design in society that is how people want to be different from others. It is the survival of the fittest among designers.

Consumers no more want to follow tradition and old school way of living. People want to differentiate themselves from others so there has to be designers to create products for these consumers. And these shoes are meant for a certain class of people who are well-off. This fashion design connotes opulence and comfort represent by the angel in gold and leather. Nowadays people do not want to wear the ordinary type of shoes that everybody wears.

This rather explicit speaker was designed by bob turek. As you can see the there is no gemometrical shape or design and is against the idea of modernism thus forms part of postmodernism. According to this new epoch this product connotes luxury, high class and eliticism for its price, extravagance and eroticism for the design. His aim was to shock or make people amazed by this design. As people way of thinking has change over time and as sexuality is no more taboo Bob turek permitted himself this trip. This object is an autonomous entity. It reflects the social context of the time rather than seen as an object of its time.

Designers know that people no more want the usual type of speakers which have a strict geometrical form. The consumer has an impact on the product. The object is a part of a social process and a part of the contemporary trends. Not one ideal solution in design but general agreement that several declinations exist for one design brief depending on circumstances and context.

There is an individual artistic approach. There is no absolute socially and shared by both the designer and consumer. The taste is founded on factors like education, class and location.

There is no correct form for an object but a number of possible forms depending on the context of conception, production and consumption. The consumption and the consumer preferences are determined in the conception of objects indeed because it response to personal needs and social requirements for consumption.

The codes resulting from the inclusion of these aspects reflects the lifestyles of a community, a group, a culture that can be read from the outside world. The object is an indicator of the culture.

Here we can see that this building has all the required characteristics of postmodernism,it goes against modenism. It can therefore be analyzed as being nonfunctional. It has a new approach and goes against previous old fashioned building.This building shows the evolution in between years,the development made by man,how they evolued from the modernism to this form of postmodernism which can be considered as an art of design. A new form of design, that goes against all that can be considered as modernism. In this new era,this type of designed building is very fashionable. This building represents technology, safety, tranquillity and comfort.


Form follows function in modernism and form follows expression on postmodernism. Postmodernism obtained a very strong base by expressing thoughts and ethics of their era…….As the world follows the tendency towards complexity, new theories are invented to keep up with the socially changing world. Designers should have more creativity and uniqueness to cope with the demands of the market. Anyone can get the latest designs of any object obtainable on the market as it has been design in such a way that anyone can use it and satisfy the desires of anyone. As demand keep changing everyday, design also changes, so designers must be avant gardist.

End of text references

Alexander Mcqueen Sling Back Sandal with Woman Heel [Image]. 2007. (accessed September 8, 2009).

Marc-jacobs-weird-heels [Image]. 2008. (acccessed September 8, 2009).

Neoclassicism [Image]. N.d. (accessed September 8, 2009).

New old speaker [Image]. 2007. September 8, 2009).

Weird home audio [Image]. 2009. (accessed September 8, 2009).