It’s New Year’s Eve. When I pan out as it were, a broader view makes me wonder what may be next for the trends in culture. Postmodernism’s illusions–irony, scepticism, consumerism–are still evolving. In some ways they offer impoortant correctives to other modes of expression and understanding. But what next?
One answer may be paradox. Recent developments in disability theory such as Tobin Siebers’s work to reblaance the socail model of disability to include the physical suffering experienced by disabled people signals a return to the body. So too phenomena such as the popularity of mindfulness suggests the wider appeal of re-grounding life in corporeal reality. Public art, once dominated by the Christian story, now increasingly evokes ‘life moments’.
Such changes seem to point beyond postmodernism’s deliberate artificiality towards microcosms of particularity. In some sense this continues postmodernism’s empashsi on the atomized self. but perhaps we shall also find how paricularity also means universality. An idnividual’s life moments must be shared by a viewer or an audience to be art. The individual and the community are boudn together. And it seems impossible to reduce what holds them together to simple univocal meaning or to biology. Richard Dawkins has started to wonder publicly at the way his responses of wonder are inexplicable. Maybe we are heading for a remaking of paradox, the both-and that can build on insights into mirrors, plasticity, and neon while affording a new understanding of the ground beneath her feet as the gift of fertility from nowhere.