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A conscious look at our society will review its constantly dynamic or changing nature. Society fluxes continually with time change- as was noted by Greek-free-thinker, Heraclitus- when he expressed the impossibility of one to jump into a particular river more than once. This point of view about the dynamic nature of society continued for long when philosophers became rather convinced that the onward drive of society hinged on immutable laws. Recently, the evolutionally nature of society is considered to be progressive and that it relents more or less on pastiche, parody, or self-conscious appropriations through arts, philosophy and other humankind-related-creativity that are projecting civil, modern, and modernized society into the post-modern era, arguably. This paper will discuss Post-Modernism and how remix culture has affected or influenced it. Chances offered by discussed remix strategies to cultural and political critiques of post-modernism will also be considered.
To understand the topic clearly, modernism will be explained and then post-modernism and the cultural and political critique offered by remix culture will be discussed appropriately.
Modernism is a term that is consistently used in the description of society's progressive movement, which is a fundamental period of Enlightenment in the history of the Western world, dating to the closure of the eighteenth century. The end of the eighteenth century was distinguished by three foremost forces:
Intellectualism- there was a soar of supremacy of knowledge over lack of knowledge;
Realism- Science progressed above fallacy and superstition; and
Conduct- orderliness overpowered disorder.
To many, these were indeed essential global values that where usable tools for disarming leadership of the time. These were weapons to send away block-headed cruel or tyrannical rulers, for good. Modernity was then considered to be a 'revolution'. This was idiosyncratic of the 1789 French Revolution when the ruling class of the country was wiped in cold blood and the introduction of capitalism was heralded in style with makeover of the disordered society. This fundamental viewpoint created the foundation upon which humankind attained progress. Humanity never felled back to the Golden Age, but rather built upon the bedrock of Enlightenment and utilized effectively applications of reason. This is stated by Leonard as follows:
'It was through reason that enlightenment, the conceiving of infinite possibilities, would enable the emancipation of humanity to take place: emancipation from ignorance, poverty, insecurity and violence' (Leonard, Park. 1997).
Not too long ago, the universal belief for an emancipating movement for tribulations and trials of humankind gave way to the conviction that society had transformed. Then there came in the way of the transformation famine, wars, and all sorts of evil induced by humans. Of course, this was part of the movement for transformation of society and humankind.
By the end of the 1970s, the question began to be considered among French thinkers about the soar of society, and whether it was driven at all. There was the denier of the point that humans were still in the modern period which had been introduced by Enlightenment, two centuries back (Lash, Samuel and Friedman James. 1992). To this school of thought, modernization introduced a period of scientific thinking and capitalistic industrialization as well as the likelihood of nuclear battles, slavery and neo-colonialism, horror, racism, Euro-centralization, and immense hunger in third world countries. The legacies of Enlightenment were not particularly friendly, then, the thinkers concluded (Anderson, Paul. 1998). It was better to consider the theories by which modernism stood as been harmful and terrible. Certainly, humankind had moved completely ahead of modernism into a post-modern age.
Post-modernism has been defined as a propensity in present-day culture typified by rebuff of purposeful truth and worldwide traditional meta-narrative or accountability (Jameson, Fredrick. 1991). However, this definition cannot be relied on completely because it falls to identify completely with the wide viewpoints of post-modernism which include response the implicitly scientific nature, objectivity, and attempt to elucidate reality. The definition has also not complied with the fact that:
Postmodernism is used in critical theory to refer to a point of departure for works of literature, drama, architecture, cinema, journalism, and design, as well as in marketing and business and in the interpretation of law, culture, and religion in the late 20th and early 21st centuries (Georg, Iggers. 1997).
There is a complexity in finding a very reliable definition that satisfies completely the topic of post modernism, therefore, due to its much diversified nature as the majority of definitions on the topic are terribly vague and habitually incoherent to others. There is a further complexity in deep differentiation between modernism and post modernism since the both could be linked with intellectual movements and aesthetics which are common in literary arts and philosophy.
'…modernity and post-modernity have tended to be used to refer to changes in social and economic institutions' (Giddens, Amber. 1990).
The context of knowledge of post-modernism in this paper will be limited to Arts and philosophy to avoid perplexity.
In consideration of post-modern art, it is proper to state that this is a little more than sculptural and paint art. Post-modern art also involves architectural, musical, dramatic, and literary arts with a major undefined meaning and depth. It is characterized by content and form diversity. Thus, art critics have based their critic of post-modern art on the characteristic of its vagueness. For example, Callinicos argued:
… multidimensional and slippery space of post-modernism [where] anything goes with anything, like a game without rules. Floating images … maintain no relationship with anything at all, and meaning becomes detachable like the keys on a key ring. Dissociated and decontextualized, they slide past one another failing to link up into a coherent sequence. Their fluctuating but not reciprocal interactions are unable to fix meaning (Callinicos, Awender. 1989).
The ready acceptance to this critic is based on the non-specified emergent style of architectural works around us in the past few decades where building architects seems to be entirely dependent on remix of the past works. Most of the most adored cities around us are actually product of 'rejuvenation' by certain architects in a quest to gratify their proficient fantasies. A very interesting illustration of this is the London Docklands. Even in developing countries like Nigeria, in Africa, art has gone 'old school' and fashion, music and architecture has followed suite. Another critic says:
Using operatic arias to promote football matches, classical music to persuade us to fly a particular airline, watching Pavarotti in the Park - there is no longer a distinction between high and popular culture ['anything goes with anything, like a game without rules'] (Layder, Dye. 1994).
The media's increase and power, culturally, through films, television or advertisements has contributed immensely to the perception people have on society. Kumar is of the point of view that post-modernists consider the media slightly differently from the customary idea of a mere communication means. The present-day media, for them, is not quite a communicational device; it is an entirely fresh environment for the present-day human- the kind of environment were one is entirely engrossed to social epistemology. People can interact with computers for hours in total contempt of the company. Kumar concludes:
The media have created a new 'electronic reality', suffused with images and symbols, which has obliterated any sense of an objective reality behind the symbols … In hyperreality it is no longer possible to distinguish the imaginary from the real (Kumar, Kanger. 1997).
This viewpoint was first recognized by Baudrillard Jean who initiated the theory of 'reality' as been an interchange of signs and ops in semantic acts through digital technology and electronic media for the consumption of the viewer. The theory contended that in a situation as stated, there is a detachment of the subjects from the results of occurrences (including artistic, philosophical or personal) such that events loss identifiable perspective. He held to the claim that a steady flow of forms and orientation that do not posses a direct effect a viewer would certainly create a gap between an object, indiscernibly, and appearance, and would result, paradoxically, to holography of appearance.
During the latter part of the 1960s, the US and Western Europe were caught up in political dilemma. Tendencies for significant political transformation in the year 1968 were obvious in the Western world consequent of movement such as the Chicano which sort for true liberation for minors. In France, the fight was debatably rather severe. This resulted to weakening of the large sway which had previously been exercised by the gargantuan Communist Party (where a majority of scholars owned reasonable commitment). This disenchantment resulted to their detachment from political affairs and consequent disbelief in political theories like Marxism. Even though they had many discrepancies, they accepted the fact of a disconnected and plural nature identifiable with reality. They disagreed with human thoughts on the possibility to reach significant objective explanations of reality. Ideologies or social theories that supported humankind activities as ways to express the order or progress of society were considered to be vain and without credibility, post-modernist argued. All that was done in time past is rightly in the control of the informed against the non-informed.
Implications of Remix Culture on Post-Modernism
The implication of remix culture on post-modernism is the lost of values and personal identity. In schools, originality is fast giving way to pastiche. Students are reluctant to learn or interact with society in traditional formats, except through digital machines- which they are heavily reliant on. Obvious, there is a dilemma here!
This paper takes a look at the evolutionally nature of society considered to be progressive and which relents on pastiche, parody, or self-conscious appropriations through arts, architecture, and other humankind-related-creativity which are projecting civil, modern, and modernized society into the post modern era. It has also discussed Post-Modernism and how remix culture has affected or influenced it.