In philosophy and aesthetics, metamodernism is a recent reaction to postmodernism that combines elements of modernism and postmodernism. The term metamodernism was introduced as an intervention in the post-postmodernism debate by the cultural theorists Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker in 2010. In their article 'Notes on metamodernism' they assert that the 2000s are characterized by the return of typically modern positions without altogether forfeiting the postmodern mindsets of the 1990s and 1980s. The prefix 'meta' here refers not to some reflective stance or repeated rumination, but to Plato's metaxy, which intends a movement between opposite poles as well as beyond.
Van den Akker and Vermeulen define metamodernism as a continuous oscillation, a constant repositioning between positions and mindsets that are evocative of the modern and of the postmodern but are ultimately suggestive of another sensibility that is neither of them: one that negotiates between a yearning for universal truths on the one hand and relativism on the other, between hope and doubt, sincerity and irony, knowingness and naivety, construction and deconstruction. They suggest that the metamodern attitude longs for another future, another metanarrative, whilst acknowledging that future or narrative might not exist, or materialize, or, if it does materialize, is inherently problematic.
As examples in current affairs Vermeulen and van den Akker cite the multiple responses (such as an 'informed naivety', 'pragmatic idealism' and 'moderate fanaticism') to climate change, the financial crisis and geopolitical instability. In the arts, they cite the return of transcendentalism, Romanticism, hope, sincerity, affect, narrativity, and the sublime. Artists and cultural practices they consider metamodern include the architecture of BIG and Herzog and de Meuron, the cinema of Michel Gondry, Spike Jonze, Gus van Sant and Wes Anderson, musicians such as CocoRosie, Antony and the Johnsons, Georges Lentz and Devendra Banhart, the artworks of Peter Doig, Olafur Eliasson, Ragnar Kjartansson, Šejla Kamerić and Paula Doepfner, and the writings of Haruki Murakami, Roberto Bolaño, David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Franzen.
The artist Luke Turner published a metamodernist manifesto in 2011 calling for an end to "the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child", and instead proposing "a pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage."
In September 2010, Galerie Tanja Wagner curated the first exhibition explicitly linked to metamodernism, including the artists Mariechen Danz, Routes Award winner Sejla Kameric, Issa Sant, Angelika Trojnarski and Paula Doepfner. There have since been three exhibitions on metamodernism: No More Modern at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, Notes on Metamodernism at the Moscow Biennial, and Discussing Metamodernism at Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin. Artists included in these shows were Olafur Eliasson, Mona Hatoum, Monica Bonvicini, Ragnar Kjartansson, Sejla Kameric, Andy Holden, David Thorpe, Luke Turner, Kris Lemsalu, Guido van der Werve, Pilvi Takala, Ulf Aminde, and Mariechen Danz.
In June 2010, van den Akker and Vermeulen initiated the webzine Notes on Metamodernism. The webzine brings together a new generation of scholars and critics from a variety of nationalities and disciplines working on tendencies in philosophy, politics and the arts that can no longer be described in terms of postmodernism but need to be conceived of by way of another vernacular. Since the webzine's inception, it has featured the work of amongst others Niels van Poecke (Erasmus University Rotterdam), Reina Marie Loader (Exeter University), Leonhard Herrman (University of Leipzig), Nadine Feßler (University of Munich), James MacDowell (University of Warwick), Hanka van der Voet (Modelectoraat ArtEZ), Luke Butcher (Manchester School of Architecture), as well as the New York based critic David Lau.
Previous uses of the term
The term metamodernism was previously adopted by the literary theorist Alexandra Dumitrescu to describe the contemporary paradigm, the poetry of William Blake, the fiction of Arundhati Roy, Michel Tournier, and also by Andre Furlani to describe the work of Guy Davenport. In Brazil, Philadelpho Menezes and Jayro Luna have used the term Metamodernism since 1986. Philadelpho Menezes published the book "A Crise do Passado: Modernidade, Vanguarda, Metamodernidade" (The Crisis of the Past: Modernity, Vanguard, Metamodernity - 1994) and Jayro Luna some papers published in 1986: "Meta Metamoderno nisso aí", "Bibliotecas Metamodernas", "Da Metalinguagem ao Metamoderno", meeting after in the book "Participação e Forma" (Participation and Form - 2001). The Indian spiritual teacher, Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi used the term in her book, Meta Modern Era (1995).
- The Death of postmodernism and beyond
- Integral theory
- New Sincerity
- New weird generation
- Remodernist film
- Vermeulen, Timotheus and Robin van den Akker. "Notes on metamodernism", Journal of Aesthetics and Culture" 2010.
- Editorial, 'What meta- means and does not mean' Notes on metamodernism, Retrieved October 14, 2011.
- Turner, L. "Metamodernist Manifesto" Retrieved November 7, 2011.
- Meixner, C. 'Was Macht die Kunst in 2011?Die Zeit (3 January 2011)
- Wagner, T. Die Tur geht nach ihnen auf
- "No More Modern : Notes on Metamodernism". MAD Museum. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- "Galerie Tanja Wagner: PR_EN_MetaModern_2012". Tanjawagner.com. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- Notes on metamodernism
- Dumitrescu, Alexandra. "Interconnections in Blakean and Metamodern Space". On Space. Deakin University. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
- "Rodopi". Rodopi.nl. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- "Cahiers de l'Echinox, 17, 2009, "Mythos vs Logos"". Fabula.org. Retrieved 2013-11-03.
- T. Vermeulen & R. van den Akker, 'Notes on metamodernism', Journal of Aesthetics and Culture
- Notes on metamodernism
- Metamodernist Manifesto