CAP (Centre for Art and Philosophy) is an interdisciplinary research platform based at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Most of its members have been or are still working at the department as lecturers, researchers or affiliates.

Metamodernism

01/09/2011

The ecosystem is severely disrupted, the financial system is increasingly uncontrollable, and the geopolitical structure has recently begun to appear as unstable as it has always been uneven. This triple crisis infuses doubt and inspires reflection about our basic assumptions, as much as inflaming cultural debates and provoking dogmatic entrenchments. History, it seems, is moving rapidly beyond its all too hastily proclaimed end.

Since the turn of the millennium, moreover, the democratization of digital technologies, techniques and tools has caused a shift from a postmodern media logic characterized by television screen and spectacle, cyberspace and simulacrum towards a metamodern media logic of creative amateurs, social networks and locative media – what the cultural theorist Kazys Varnelis calls network culture.

Meanwhile, architects and artists increasingly move beyond the postmodern ways of doing, making and thinking not by radically parting with postmodern attitudes and techniques but by incorporating and redirecting them. What we are witnessing is the emergence of a new cultural dominant. 

CAP members Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen have described this cultural dominant - emerging from and surpassing of postmodernism - as metamodernism. Metamodernism should be seen as a structure of feeling, which can be defined, after Raymond Williams, as “a particular quality of social experience […] historically distinct from other particular qualities, which gives the sense of a generation or of a period.” It therefore is both a heuristic label to come to terms with recent changes in aesthetics and culture and a notion to periodize these changes.