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Author Topic: Vorticism, Futurism and the Web!  (Read 208 times)
Melooon
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« on: August 26, 2022, 10:19:51 pm »

Im sharing this as a general creative discussion, it's not exactly web related.. in fact its very far from the web.. but somehow in my mind anyway it feels fresh and as soon as I read it I was like "I wanna worlds and websites that feel like this!" It reminds me of the kinda energy that was in my mind when making Ozwomp, this kinda radical fresh independent feeling, where you want to destroy everything and create everything all at once.

https://thoughts.melonking.net/thoughts/blast-vorticist-manifesto-1914



What do you think? Do you think? Do I think? Im not even sure, but Id love to hear about peoples reactions :)
« Last Edit: August 26, 2022, 10:38:12 pm by Melooon » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2022, 12:35:04 pm »

Sounds about en par for most of the anti-intellectual modernist movements of the very early 20th century (situationism, avant garde, ...).

I am not particularly impressed at the implied defeatism; the idea that there is nothing left to innovate, that art is dead, and that everything needs to be corrupted to the absurd. It has a goulish, apocalyptic implication that I am not too fond of. It is certainly an imprint of its time though - the First World War, the advent of the large city, unseen horrors and incredible indulgence, the first capitalist subversion of the common way to live.

I think that modernism had its place in human history, but we are at a point now where real artistic radicalism is to believe in the mundane idea that art can, in fact, innovate, be artistic and beautiful without subversion, and that the future is not, in fact, terrible. A postmodern reinterpretation of the past to reflect the rules of history from the past and project them unto the future, as postmodernism without postmodernists.

I personally would like to see a new take on proletarian realism: no pretense of deconstructing art or modern human nature, no attempt at sentimental reflection of the past nor present, just a naive portrayal of the current world and the envisioned future, built from and about the tools available to and around us during our daily slog: labor, alienation, war. That is what I think the retro web revival is also capable of, in some strands, hence why I like all this. It is art built from and with the tools available to the common person, built as an antithesis to the mainstream internet, carrying within its social critique, but not as a pretentious work of art subverting what it means to be a webpage (or art, in the simile), but as a naive vision of a webpage, the archetype, the historical origin, remixed to take into account our postmodern world. That is, I think, radical.
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Melooon
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2022, 04:28:43 pm »

Thank you for this great reply; I wasn't sure if Id get any responses since this is a pretty heavy topic  ;D

This is a super interesting take on both the web revival and the Vorticism, because it sounds like what you interpret in the web revival, is exactly what I get when I read that manifesto! I really like that you see something different though, because its exactly this kinda sanity check them helps us to understand what we are thinking today.

To backtrack though, Im gonna list some loose definitions for people less versed in art speak:
Modernism - The idea that there is a central narrative that links all humanity, an unspoken deep truth about the world and art is one means of expressing that. (Early 20th century)
Post-Modernism - The destruction of that narrative, the idea that everything needs to be deconstructed and parodied, so arts task is to deconstruct things. (Late 20th century)

Both philosophies had good and bad sides; however I personally think that post-modernism became a monstrosity that did vast damage to the world; but that does not mean Im a modernist. I think both are outdated now and its time for us to pick up the pieces and make something better.

Quote
the anti-intellectual modernist movements | a goulish, apocalyptic implication
I see it as anti-formal-structure and pro-chaotic-creation, but I don't see it as anti-intellectual; I think the very fact that they made a manifesto makes it inherently intellectual; but Id love to know why you feel this. I totally agree though that a lot of art from this era is ghoulish (Including a lot of vorticist art), but it's also an era of incredible discovery and light. It's always the case that light and dark arrive in equal parts.

Quote
implied defeatism; the idea that there is nothing left to innovate, that art is dead
Again, Id love to know what brought up this feeling for you. I don't see it as being pessimistic or optimistic; it simply wants to exist and be honest about its existence; which is often the best path to new places.

Quote
no pretense of deconstructing art or modern human nature, no attempt at sentimental reflection of the past nor present, just a naive portrayal of the current world and the envisioned future
This is very freeing and I absolutely agree that deconstruction is no longer the way forward. I don't think that naive portrayal is the only way forward, but its a great option. I think naivety works best when its actually self-reflective and understands that its naive, otherwise it tends to become a bore! Although you see their manifesto as pretentious? To me it's the opposite; its trying to blast pretence away! (Though its format is now quite dated)

Quote
It is art built from and with the tools available to the common person, built as an antithesis to the mainstream internet, carrying within its social critique, but not as a pretentious work of art subverting what it means to be a webpage (or art, in the simile), but as a naive vision of a webpage, the archetype, the historical origin, remixed to take into account our postmodern world. That is, I think, radical.
This is a fantastic description the of the web revival !<o But is this not also what BLAST was trying to evoke in its own era? An art created by everyday individuals, dispelling the mainstream social order, a naive chaotic collection of passions?

108 years has past since the Vorticists; both modernism and post-modernism arrived and departed and left their marks on the world. We live in a deconstructed world; we crave hope but also fear it; we need purpose but have none; and live in a world that desperately needs cooperation refuses to cooperate; theres too much noise and too much silence. Sometimes it feels like we are at the heart of that vortex; but thats an outdated idea :P So where do we go now?

What will people think of our manifestos in 108 years from now; what will their problems be and how much will we be responsible for them!
« Last Edit: August 28, 2022, 04:31:34 pm by Melooon » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2022, 09:56:52 pm »

Sounds about en par for most of the anti-intellectual modernist movements of the very early 20th century (situationism, avant garde, ...).

I am not particularly impressed at the implied defeatism; the idea that there is nothing left to innovate, that art is dead, and that everything needs to be corrupted to the absurd. It has a goulish, apocalyptic implication that I am not too fond of. It is certainly an imprint of its time though - the First World War, the advent of the large city, unseen horrors and incredible indulgence, the first capitalist subversion of the common way to live.

I think that modernism had its place in human history, but we are at a point now where real artistic radicalism is to believe in the mundane idea that art can, in fact, innovate, be artistic and beautiful without subversion, and that the future is not, in fact, terrible. A postmodern reinterpretation of the past to reflect the rules of history from the past and project them unto the future, as postmodernism without postmodernists.

I personally would like to see a new take on proletarian realism: no pretense of deconstructing art or modern human nature, no attempt at sentimental reflection of the past nor present, just a naive portrayal of the current world and the envisioned future, built from and about the tools available to and around us during our daily slog: labor, alienation, war. That is what I think the retro web revival is also capable of, in some strands, hence why I like all this. It is art built from and with the tools available to the common person, built as an antithesis to the mainstream internet, carrying within its social critique, but not as a pretentious work of art subverting what it means to be a webpage (or art, in the simile), but as a naive vision of a webpage, the archetype, the historical origin, remixed to take into account our postmodern world. That is, I think, radical.

Having studied modernist (and postmodern) literature in university, I've literally never heard anyone describe the modernists as "anti-intellectual" before. They were actually very elitist and with often fascist leanings (this being before WWII when fascism was first becoming popular worldwide). I think we can definitely associate the current fascist movement with anti-intellectualism, but not the likes of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein or James Joyce. In fact, they would have derided the "proletarian realism" you describe as "middlebrow."

Maybe you're conflating this with the modernist rejection of Realism, but that's not to say they rejected the idea of objective reality (they were actually all about that epistemology). They simply didn't believe art had to depict things in a natural way as we see them, and we could in fact derive more of the truth about something by inspecting it in new ways. A lot of it looks like confusing gibberish as a result, but all that chaos is done with meticulous purpose. Cubism, for example, (as employed by Picasso and Stein) was an attempt to depict things from multiple angles at once.

As for the manifesto, I think it does fit with the retro web revival. A lot of the websites people are making on Neocities are trying to replicate the chaotic style of the early web. It's a top-down approach to intentionally design "badly", which I think is very neomodernist; whereas the actual artifacts they're recreating were decidedly postmodern, relying heavily on pastiche and ground-up design to make the product fit the pieces rather than the pieces fit the product.
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« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2022, 05:46:48 pm »

Having studied modernist (and postmodern) literature in university, I've literally never heard anyone describe the modernists as "anti-intellectual" before. They were actually very elitist and with often fascist leanings (this being before WWII when fascism was first becoming popular worldwide). I think we can definitely associate the current fascist movement with anti-intellectualism, but not the likes of Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf, Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein or James Joyce. In fact, they would have derided the "proletarian realism" you describe as "middlebrow."
I am aware that modernism stems from "elitist" culture, attacking the perceived meaninglessness and mundanity of being constrained to the material, tangible world. What I meant with "anti-intellectual" had more to do with their general tendency to deconstruct the idea of creating in the first place in the late Modernist phase, the idea that attempting to use art as a means of communication or to portray something beautiful, new or meaningful is worthless and futile; the charred canvas, for example. And I can hardly take movements like situationism or dadaism seriously as intellectual expression when most of it was, by all means, drug-fueled hatred on the material world, and the embrace of the meaningless. At some point, that intellectual elitism turns into non-intelligibility and idealist nonsense far from any reasonable outlook on the world. That is what I mean with anti-intellectual: the opposition to the idea that we can understand and improve the world, and the turning to the absurd.

Maybe you're conflating this with the modernist rejection of Realism, but that's not to say they rejected the idea of objective reality (they were actually all about that epistemology).

Yet at the same time their leading ideologies were idealist - such as the French anarchists who believed they could change the world's order by creating disruptive and subversive performance art, and creating absurd situations to influence ideas of the masses to eventually change the material world. That's very un-materialist of them.

They simply didn't believe art had to depict things in a natural way as we see them, and we could in fact derive more of the truth about something by inspecting it in new ways. A lot of it looks like confusing gibberish as a result, but all that chaos is done with meticulous purpose. Cubism, for example, (as employed by Picasso and Stein) was an attempt to depict things from multiple angles at once.
Yeah, I agree. I think we are both talking about different things - I am talking about the very late Modernist phase, the deconstruction of art and , bleeding into early postmodernism such as the Frankfurt school, philosophically. I enjoy the Modernist interpretation of pushing boundaries of what art can be, but I despite the Modernist interpretation of laughing at the concept of meaningful art, materialism and construction in the first place.

As for the manifesto, I think it does fit with the retro web revival. A lot of the websites people are making on Neocities are trying to replicate the chaotic style of the early web. It's a top-down approach to intentionally design "badly", which I think is very neomodernist; whereas the actual artifacts they're recreating were decidedly postmodern, relying heavily on pastiche and ground-up design to make the product fit the pieces rather than the pieces fit the product.

Yet isn't that more post-modernist than anything concretely modernist? I believe it's a perfect example of postmodern irony, where you take what once was in the past, "remix" and parody it with modern influences, to make a point. That is, of course, when it is done self-awarely, and not as a complete imitation of the 90s internet. I think web badges such as anti-NFT blinkies have a wonderful postmodern aspect to it, mixing the old and the new in an ironic mashup, making the idea of "product of its time" meaningless and subverting the idea of a web badge.
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