Not Reacting Doesn’t Help
Jean Fancois Lyotard uses the term “postmodern” to develop the concept that in its current state humanity needs to take another look at its past. Lyotard explains that humanity has reached its goals toward acknowledging its own existence through architecture. When one reaches far enough into the horizon of our modern view, one sees that humanity is forced to re-evaluate where we are on a universal scale. He also makes a point of defining the term “postmodernist” as the phase after modernism; its named based on its successive order. Lyotard brings the idea of the human desire for progress into light and asks whether it has room in today’s society. The final point Lyotard stresses is that humanity needs to evaluate the work found in the art in context to the anamnesis. Reflection, and re-evaluation of our surrounding is how Lyotard chooses to inform us of his view of the definition of “postmodernism”.
Throughout history humans have asked whether the architecture that surrounds them is created to evoke a certain kind of awe. Lyotard states that humans have reached a level of integrity in the understanding of themselves that has allowed us to conquer the idea that architecture is associated with where we stand as a people. This break from the structure associated with architecture and “sociohistorical” (1933) esteem has pulled the perspective of the architect way back into a world seen from another point of view. The access to an additional perspective widens the scopes of the architect, and gives way to new forms of work that may be considered good enough to evoke a remembrance of that old style that led to human emancipation.
Postmodern artists are forced to look at the world through a lens that has been tarnished over time with the stain of human indecency. Looking back Lyotard tries to see the world as a whole; he can’t help but see situations as the holocaust. He realizes that because of the horrendous crimes committed by humanity he can never actually live in a final utopia. According to Lyotard the image is embedded as a part of our emancipation as a whole. He claims that because of our relationship with a tarnished past we can no longer really truly belong to a perfect society. Lyotard says that due to our nature to learn, progress, and change we continue to find ourselves in one of two positions. We find ourselves either overwhelmingly well equipped for survival or so oversaturated with technologies that we can’t live without them.
Lyotard disagrees with the impression that in art “the dominant idea is that the big movement of avant-gardism is over” (1935). He goes on to state that the way the avant-garde painters produce his work is an accurate way to create the way in which others will paint. He says that the next step to understanding the work of the Avant-gardist is to look at the anamnesis. Using this method you can actually deconstruct the creation of the work through a psychoanalytic process. By analyzing, splitting, reviewing and expanding on great works of art, humans can find the hidden meaning behind human emancipation.
Postmodernism is a way to define our times accurately through a re-analysis and continued process of art. The progression of the avant-garde in a postmodernist world gives meaning to the journey of creation. The change causes its own expansion and allows for new meaning to be presented within their own relevance. There is no purpose to exposing art other then to look into our own psyche. Lyotard believes that humanity has failed to deal with past issues such as the holocaust. He says we should be more aggressive at reforming and recreating and using more elements of style in our artwork, so we develop a larger landscape from which we can understand our universe. Creativity is the key to defining ourselves in the future; the postmodern world asks us to keep asking ourselves.
Jean-Francois Lyotard. From Poetics. TheCritical Tradition: Classic Texts and
Contemporary Trends. ED. David H. Richter.3rded. Boston:Bedford, 2007. 1933-35.Print