Event Returns of the Modern : David Cunningham

Event Returns of the Modern : David Cunningham

journal of visual culture 9(1)

이 글은 부리요가 큐레이팅한 tate triennale에 대한 critic인데 상당히 비판적이다. 거의 failure라고 보고 있다. 

‘Altermodern’ is a word that intends to define the specific modernity according to the specific context we live in – globalization, and its economic, political and cultural conditions.’

‘If early twentieth-century Modernism is characterised as a broadly Western cultural phenomenon, and Postmodernism was shaped by ideas of multi-culturalism, origins and identity, Altermodern is expressed in the language of a global culture.’(2)

Hence, modernism  is apparently ‘reloaded’, after post modernism, as a form of return that is also, all-too-familiarly, a new beginning: a reloading of the very ‘possibility of producing singularities’ (which is presumably a rather post-Deleuzian way of saying that it re-valorizes the new  itself, as against the supposed postmodern concern with pastiche and repetition). (2)

Nonetheless, one might justifiably wonder, in this instance, just how new this modernity ‘based on translation’ and ‘the creolisation of cultures’ (2)

Most obviously, Bourriaud simply seems to have no clue what to do, conceptually , with the key term ‘modernity’ itself, nor, seemingly, much interest in unpacking the different connotations of its associated terms: ‘modernism’, ‘modern’, ‘modernization’. As a result, its presentation in the various, and invariably brief, texts accompanying the Triennial is essentially impressionistic  -> 전시가 총체적 실패라고 보고 있다. 

Crucially, rather than unpack the problems that were always already attendant on the very idea of a post modern, the ‘concept’ of the altermodern merely compounds and extends them, insofar as it can only repeat the fundamental conceptual confusions about the nature of the modern as a structure of time  – rather than a ‘period’ per se – from which the former notion derived. (3)

Bourriaud’s altermodern contains some truth in its attempt to grasp the historical novelty of the present. Yet the tendency to deal with  such novelty merely by a conformity to the logic of fashion and the market, here performed in the act of constantly declaring the arrival of whole new epochs, merely confuses the real issues at stake here; that is, the internally  changing forms of capitalist modernity itself.(3)

Unsurprisingly, much critical reaction to Bourriaud’s Tate Triennial, in both the mainstream media and blogosphere, has been unremittingly hostile. Some of this can be put down to a typically parochial and conservative reaction to this Frenchman coming over here, stealing our artists and peddling his ‘theory’. The problem, however, is not the ‘theory’ per se, but the failure of such theory in this instance to come even close to meeting the demands made by the forms of cultural analysis that Bourriaud seems determined now to pursue. (9)


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