Just Sociology

Navigating Modernity and Postmodernity: Cindy Sherman and the Views of the City

David Harvey’s book, The Condition of Postmodernity, and Jonathan Raban’s Soft City both discuss postmodernism as a cultural aesthetic that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century. Postmodernity describes a shift in the way we view ourselves and the world around us, transitioning from modernity’s emphasis on objective truth and rationality to a preference for subjectivity, plurality, and fluidity of identity.

In this article, we will explore important concepts related to modernity and postmodernity, discussing key principles, views of the city, and

Cindy Sherman’s influence on postmodernism. The term “postmodernism” denotes the breaking away from traditional modes of thinking in the aftermath of World War II.

It is a cultural movement that profoundly influenced literature, art, architecture, and other spheres of human endeavor. The term “postmodernism” is often used synonymously with postmodernity, reflecting the era’s defining characteristics such as mass consumption, globalization, and rapid technological advancements.

Starting from the 1970s, postmodernism became a mainstream international phenomenon that questioned the structural and aesthetic norms of modernism. As a cultural aesthetic, postmodernism emphasizes the malleability of appearances and recognizes the self-referential positioning of authors as subjects.

It promotes ideas of fragmented subjectivity, intertextuality, and pastiche, challenging the boundaries of traditional canons and challenging the notion of a unified culture.

Cindy Sherman, a prominent photographer, embraced postmodern theories by self-posing as the subject of her photographs.

By doing so, she challenged the cultural notion of beauty, bringing to light the pitfalls of appearances in a postmodern world.

Views of the City

Roland Barthes, in his essay on Paris, the City of Signs, argues that the city is not a mere spatial arrangement of buildings and public works; it is a theatre of signs and images that organizes and generates personal identity. The postmodern view of the city emphasizes entrepreneurialism and individualism, encouraging us to think of cities as places where social distinction can be achieved.

It promotes an environment where creative and entrepreneurial attitudes are rewarded and emphasizes the plasticity of daily life. Le Corbusier, a Swiss-French architect, proposed a radical new vision for urban living based on the ideals of rationality, cleanliness, and efficiency.

His urban planning philosophy aimed at creating a more harmonious relationship between the architecture and the people, proposing high-density buildings, public green spaces and broad streets. However, his vision for urban living was criticized for being top-down, emphasizing the hierarchy of urban values while neglecting the complexities of urban life.

In contrast, postmodern urban planning highlights the importance of personal identity, and the vividness of daily life, embracing diversity and unconventionality.

Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman is an American artist who gained recognition in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Her work explores the construction of feminine identity and the cultural and aesthetic construction of women’s roles.

Sherman’s works are characterized by self-portraiture and malleability, which aligns with postmodern conceptualization of appearance and identity. Sherman’s photographs force the viewer to examine the ways in which cultural norms are enforced, and the arbitrariness of our conceptions.

They challenge the viewer to see the constructed nature of beauty and its unstable character. Through her work, she highlights that where once our appearances were determined by our roles, identities are now fluid constructions, shaped by a vast range of influences.

Defining Postmodernism

Different Views

Terry Eagleton, a prominent literary critic, describes postmodernism as a departure from meaning, characterized by playful and self-ironizing artefacts. He contends that postmodernism is schizoid, marked by a tension between the language of commerce and commodity, and the irreverent pastiche (Juxtaposition of incongruous elements) of culture and history.

PRECIS, an architectural journal, describes postmodernism as a rejection of universal strategies and disciplinary coherence, emphasizing heterogeneity and fragmentation. They argue that it represents a departure from linear progress towards absolute truths, rational planning, and standardization of knowledge, production, and living.

Postmodernism, then, is characterized by indeterminacy, and a profound distrust of universal, totalizing discourses.

Commonalities

Despite the differences in views on postmodernism, there are some common themes. For example, there is a fundamental rejection of metanarratives, which are totalizing explanations that claim universal human history.

Postmodernism also reflects a nightmare of modernity, described by the loss of a common cultural tradition and the emergence of manipulative reason that seeks to control and direct individuals towards predetermined ends. Postmodernism is characterized by the fetish of totality and the secretly terroristic function of language, which seeks to create a unitary mindset.

As a result, postmodernism is characterized by laid-back pluralism that promotes a diversity of life-styles, language games, and art forms. Postmodernism is skeptical of science, philosophy, and metaphysical claims, emphasizing narratives and personal experiences as a way of creating meaning.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored important concepts related to modernity and postmodernity. We discussed key principles, views of the city, and

Cindy Sherman’s influence on postmodernism.

We also explored different views of postmodernism, emphasizing its rejection of metanarratives and its promotion of complexity and diversity. Postmodernism challenges the structural and aesthetic norms of modernism and will continue to influence how we view the world and our place in it.

In conclusion, this article has provided an introduction to modernity and postmodernity, discussing key principles, views of the city, and

Cindy Sherman’s influence on postmodernism. It has also explored different views of postmodernism, emphasizing its rejection of metanarratives and its promotion of complexity and diversity.

Understanding these concepts is essential to navigating our rapidly changing society and redefining our relationship with the world. Here are some commonly asked questions:

1.

What is postmodernism? Postmodernism is a cultural and philosophical movement that emerged in the latter half of the 20th century, characterized by rejection of metanarratives, linear progress, and universal truths.

2. What was

Cindy Sherman’s influence on postmodernism?

Cindy Sherman challenged the cultural notion of beauty through her self-portrait photography, exposing the constructed nature of beauty and the arbitrariness of our conceptions. 3.

What is the difference between modernity and postmodernity? Modernity emphasizes objectivity, rationality, and linear progress, while postmodernity values subjectivity, plurality of identity, and fluidity.

4. What is the postmodern view of the city?

The postmodern view of the city emphasizes entrepreneurialism, individualism, and personal identity, promoting diversity and unconventionality. 5.

What is the significance of postmodernism? Postmodernism challenges the structural and aesthetic norms of modernism and will continue to influence how we view the world and our place in it.

Popular Posts