Thursday, 15 July 2010

What is metamodernism?

As we define it, metamodernism oscillates between the modern and the postmodern. It oscillates between a modern desire for sens and a postmodern doubt about the sense of it all, between a modern enthusiasm and a postmodern irony, between hope and melancholy, empathy and apathy, unity and plurality, totality and fragmentation, order and chaos, purity and corruption, clarity and ambiguity, between naïveté and knowingness. Indeed, metamodernism is an oscillation. It is the dynamic by which it expresses itself. One should be careful not to think of this oscillation as a balance however; rather it is a pendulum swinging between two poles. Each time the metamodern enthusiasm swings towards fanaticism, gravity pulls it back towards irony; the moment its irony sways towards apathy, gravity pulls it back towards enthusiasm.

Image: Selja Kameric, Dream House (2002). Courtesy Gallery Tanja Wagner


  1. This definition very much reminds me of Douglas Kellner's approach to postmodernism as between the modern and postmodern. I can certainly see differences in yours and Kellner's approach, but there is a distinctive tone about the obvious limits of postmodernism leaving it sort of useless but that there is no return to modernity. He (and I have through his influence) tends to revise some stable notions of modernity from a postmodern perspective; much like your and-nor principle. It was in my undergraduate dissertation on videogames as postmodern media that I came across this work and it made so much sense to me. Hope to hear more from you, keep the twitter feed updating.

  2. Thanks! We had not yet thought about Kellner in this respect, but we will have a look straight away. We're very keen to read your work on videogames!

  3. If you e-mail me at I will be happy to reply with my dissertation attached.