Wednesday, 20 October 2010

HCJ: Modernism

Although Modernism was a concept thought up long ago during the late 19th century, effects of it's reign can still be seen today in the form of buildings such as the Chrysler building in New York City. Architect William Van Halen designed the building after being inspired by machine technology. For this reason, the building contains details such as hubcaps and images of cars along it's stainless steel surface.
Modernism relished the idea of thinking outside the box. Modernists celebrated buildings that were scientifically designed; standard structure was no longer in vogue.

Questioning and exploring were also parts of this new culture. One of the more famous modernists Nietzsche, once stated: "God is dead". Although this may come across as a blatant refusal to believe in a universal creator, it wasn't. Modernism merely questions his current existence, yet understanding that at one point God may have been alive.

Modernism came about after Romanticism had had it's time in the lime light. A paradigm shift is the term used to describe this as it is a cultural change, often in reaction to the one before it. For example the French Revolution overthrew the monarchy in favor of a more free way of thinking. The next paradigm shift came in the form of Romanticism changing to Modernism. Modernists believe that there are never any `absolutes` in life. No absolute evil and no absolute good. There are also no fixed points to speak of and nothing has a centre. De-Centralization was the term used to describe this belief. Europe in particular was no longer a central part of the world. Those roles had been handed to countries like America and continents such as Asia. The highly modernistic view was that Europe had been eclipsed.

Other elements of Modernism were aspects such as psycho analysis, which meant Sigmund Freud played a role in this new culture. There was also the train of thought that everything was made of nothing if you broke it apart; especially with todays technology of being able to split atoms, everything eventually comes down to nothing.

Modernism eventually met its end during World War I, and in particular during the holocaust. After Modernism came postmodernism, which was a basic rejection of all that had come before it. It was a rejection of reason and the rejection of truth. This seemingly anti-modern stance during the late 21st Century was the next paradigm shift,and marked the end of Modernism.

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