Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155973
Title: "SURE, EVERYTHING IS ENDING … BUT NOT YET": AN AESTHETICS OF TRUST FOR METAMODERNITY
Authors: TAN JIA HUI JULIA
Issue Date: 15-Apr-2019
Citation: TAN JIA HUI JULIA (2019-04-15). "SURE, EVERYTHING IS ENDING … BUT NOT YET": AN AESTHETICS OF TRUST FOR METAMODERNITY. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Although scholars of postmodernism and postmodernity have generally accepted that the postmodern era is over, there is still little consensus over how to define the historical and artistic period that has supplanted it. From Nicolas Bourriaud’s altermodernism to Alan Kirby’s digimodernism, Gilles Lipovetsky’s hypermodernism to Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen’s metamodernism, the project of defining the aesthetic sensibilities of the contemporary era is still in progress. This thesis attempts to participate in this project by examining trends in contemporary literature. Situating my theoretical point of departure in van den Akker and Vermeulen’s metamodernist framework, I argue that an aesthetics of trust can be discerned in contemporary literature, in addition to other proposed metamodernist aesthetic sensibilities, such as Josh Toth’s historioplasticity and Lee Konstantinou’s postirony. Vermeulen and van den Akker argue that the cultural moment in which we presently live is influenced by two incompatible structures of feeling, which are modernism and postmodernism respectively. Steven B. Smith underlines that “[t]o be modern means to take affairs into our own hands, to achieve through our own unaided efforts what in the past had been consigned to the province of wish, prayer, or even the endless cycle of history” (8). Rising in opposition to the modern project, postmodernism is characterized by an “unseating of the grand, emancipatory narratives of science, history, philosophy and so on” that “proposes an alternative to the failed Enlightenment […] advanc[ing] a new liberalism in which diagnosis of the indeterminacy of meaning will lead to a proper respect for cultural difference” (Hamilton 13). However, postmodernism’s desire for inaugurating mutual respect has run into a few problems. Ihab Hassan points out that “cultural postmodernism has mutated into genocidal postmodernity … [and] cultural postmodernism itself has also metastasized into sterile, campy, kitschy, jokey, dead-end games or sheer media hype” (19). It is from these observations that Hassan calls for contemporary artists to adopt an aesthetics of trust that aim towards rehabilitating notions of truth and trust in a world where they rendered suspect by postmodernism. I argue in this thesis that artists have in fact responded to such a call, and have formulated an aesthetics of trust that works to subvert postmodern scepticism by utilising this scepticism as a means of inaugurating a distinctively romantic notion of intersubjectivity and trust. To illustrate what I mean by such an aesthetics of trust, I examine Jennifer Egan’s literary text, A Visit from the Goon Squad (2010).
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/155973
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses

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