PRINT November 2003


neo-modernist sound art

“WHATEVER HAPPENED to postmodernism?” asked the critic Hal Foster in 1993, reflecting on the apparent exhaustion of the postmodernist project in art and theory. Rather than declare the end of postmodernism, however, Foster went on to sketch a complex historical picture in which modernism and postmodernism are engaged in a kind of temporal dance, where one or the other comes to the fore at different moments.

Foster’s suggestive analysis helps account for the steady reemergence of modernist commitments and strategies over the past decade and particularly in the past several years. In critical theory, for instance, Alain Badiou and Alenka Zupančič are offering potent challenges to postmodern thought, reviving distinctly avant-gardist conceptions of aesthetic innovation and revolutionary commitment. In a recent manifesto, new-media critic Lev Manovich celebrates the “new modernism of data

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