Which era are we in now?

Post modernism is the era we are in today but it’s difficult to define when this era started. During the modern era religion was a key influence for Art, but now there is a clear decline of master narratives. There are many factors which lead to this deterioration, relativism is one where we started to reject the rules and do what was right for us, I think this is still an on going problem, one example is when businesses have complained about the Sunday Trading Laws which was brought upon faith which restricts trading to a maximum of 6 hours on a Sunday, but in today’s growing era where trading is accessible 24/7 on the internet, it’s hard to believe that we still have to follow these rules for public trade on the streets.

Cynicism was also a strong factor for the movement to post modernism where there was growing lack of faith in politics, science, religion we started to question and challenge everything we heard. Roland Barthes gave us the quote ‘Death of the Author’ Where what’s published is determined by what the readers make of it, what the author wrote and had in mind becomes irrelevant afterwards. Philosophers such as Jacques Derrida introduced us to deconstruction where we were taught ‘not to look everything at face value’ I think a good example of this could be ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’, I hope a decorator didn’t pick up the book ’50 shades of Grey’ looking for swatches and started to read an erotic romance novel! All of this deterioration in faith developed after horrific events such as ww1, ww2, and the holocaust, people started to question God and his faith in humanity.

During our class we were given the example of two ‘Star Treck’ commanders, Mr Spock (1966) and Lt Commander Data (1987). Mr Spock was a Human-Vulcan he thrived to live by logic and reason with as little interference from emotion as possible but as he was half human emotion was inevitable. Data is a self-aware, sapient and anatomically fully functional android. He found it difficult to understand human behavior which lead him to strive for his own humanity. Data is in many ways a successor Mr Spock in that the character offers an “outsider’s” perspective on humanity. This is similar to the Modern period where science and reasoning believed to be right but now as we’ve developed into Post-Modernism, science and reasoning isn’t quite enough, emotion is a key aspect we need as well. We could argue that emotion has been fulfilled by spirituality in replacing religion.

Postmodernist Architecture

Mies Van Der Rohe, Seagram building 1958

Mies Van Der Rohe was an architect which was a part of the Bauhaus, the Bauhaus is known for their combined Craft and Art and the way we approach design today. The Seagram building is a key element in post modern architecture as Mies Van Der Rohe added an element of decoration which could also be functional, this is against everything Marinetti and Corbusier belived.

An evocative view of the finished Seagram Building, from the north-west at dusk


Here I’ve circled the decoration on the Seagram building which was used for Window cleaners’ suspended platform.

Philip Johnson Sony Building 1984

Philip Johnson was inspired by Greek architecture to create the roof of this building, it’s simply decoration which has no function, decoration started to become a way of play for architects during post-modernism.

Philip Johnson John Burgee AT&T Building Sony Tower credit_David_Shankbone_dezeen_468

Frank Ghery

Walt Disney concert Hall

This is a great example of where architects were playing and pushing the boundaries of material, here we can see the possibilities of steel creating haphazard curves and lines, this was nothing like anyone had ever seen before.


Daniel Liebskind studio

Royal Ontario Museum 2007

Here we can see Post modernism litteraly overlapping Modernism

Art + Cutting edge technologies + ethical Values = Quality of life

Art has been away for many of us to cope with day to day life throughout history, it can be a platform for us to express our selves, show everyone that life can be sad and scary and that they’re not alone in feeling this way. Art was a good way to cope through war as they were ‘pretty’ and gave people hope for the future.

We looked at Vito Di Barri’s work which claims he makes the future of today. Here we can see his O2 Pram which filters clean air for a baby, then we have a oil and vinegar cruet which is made of ‘electrochemical glass that becomes transparent only when you lift up the bottles to check the liquid level, when stationary, it remains opaque in order to protect your wine from sunlight, and thus keep the flavor exactly as you tasted it in the wine cellar where you bought it’ and finally we have his O3 suit case which dry cleans his clothes on the go.

All though his work is aimed to improve our quality of life, they aren’t necessarily going to be life changing, a deprived person wouldn’t care about these inventions and majority of people wouldn’t invest in them.


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