Wednesday, March 31, 2004

How modern is modern? 

I am due to post a topic for discussion in my writers group at Writersvillage which is due to start on April 10. The following is what I have come up with.

How modern is modern?

I have always been in a quandary about the term “modernism” in art. I know
that this monicker had started with the turn of the twentieth century. In my readings in college, I learned that in painting, people like Manet, Monet and the other “Impressionists” started to veer away from the linear, studio-type lighting and romantic themes of the past. This may be attributed to the change of perception in life with the onset of the industrial revolution that resulted to the rise of the middle class. As such, painting became accessible to the “can affords” and was no longer confined to the aristocracy. This development made artists concentrate on more personal forms as tastes varied from one patron to another. Hence we see Cesanne and Vincent experimenting on color, Matisse and Picasso in shapes, Seurat with the obliteration of line altogether with his pointillism, etc.

In about the same era, poets like Getrude Stein, Ezra Pound began writing in a new genre which was called “modern”.

For your reading pleasure, I suggest you go to the "The Modernist Revolution:
make it new

What brought about “modernism” at the turn of the century was a new
view of the world that was faster, more efficient, and probably rebellious.
Thus, a new way of thinking followed. The world got to know the works of
Sigmund Freud, the Wright brothers and unfortunately, two world wars.

My question is, since these artists have long been gone, wouldn’t it be
just right to say that modern art is already an anachronism? Corollary to the main question are: If this is so, where is art going? More specifically, where is poetry going? We are starting the 21st century, a brand new age which is even much faster, much more efficient and whatever there will be in the years to come. I think Toffler, author of Future Shock, branded our time as the age of information (of course I am just relying on what I remember and I can be wrong as to the source). So, where do we go now? Will poetry go back to the classics as we seem to have turned full circle? Or do we create a new form for this century just like they did in the past? Where will it be and how will it happen? HAs it started with "rap", "slam" and the other forms emerging from the streets? Or are these just plain "alternatives" that have yet to go to the mainstream? What is the effect of email and computerization as a whole to the written word?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we, as a group, come up with a new form and be known to be the proponents of such? Wishful thinking, huh?

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