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Friday, May 8, 2009

What does this all mean?

According to the National Art Education Association the definition of Critical theory "has rapidly become a center of attention and energy in the visual arts." By critical theory, one can relate to the "grouping of Semiotic, structuralist, psychoanalytic, and postmodern theory that has taken a leading role in the direction of art criticism and contemporary art history."
Another way of looking at critical theory, is from an article by Charles Altieri who says that "there are two aspects of the modernist rejection of rhetoric that help distinguish it from previous literary movements. First, modernist writers self-consciously defined themselves as modern precisely because of their attacks on the rhetoric of their predecessors- first in novelists like Flaubert and James and then in the rallying cry of the poets that poetry must be as well written and as true to the flux of experience as the modern novel." This somehow described that poetry doesn't really go far away from the literary theory. One might think that they are really far away from each other, but in reality one does not exist without the other, just like the new poetry lives from the old one, like a parasite does with its host, without either of them none would exist.
"Language is the form on which though occurs. Signification based on language is arbitrary and socially contexted rather than authentic and universal."
From that one could clearly see the fact that none of these topics can really be without each other. Poetry tends to live off the old poets and ideas, just like the new Critical ideas are based on the faults of the old critical ideas. Thus Modernism came after Positivism, and formalism, and thus we are now in the Post-modern era, by that "modernism is a very limited literary movement because it denies the full discursive powers of the mind to generalize about and interpret experience." By that the idea that modernism was a bit closed on itself that the idea of Postmodernism came to Lyotard who to him, postmodernity was a social formation that takes root in the last year of the nineteenth century.
Even though the idea of Lyotard kind of relates to Marxism when he says his book 'The Postmodern Condition' "the ruling class is and will continue to be the class of decision makers." But he continues to state that, "What is new in all of this is that the old poles of attraction represented by nation states, parties, professions,... and historical traditions are losing their attraction."
Even though Lyotard talks in his book about knowledge more than the Postmodern Condition, he focuses on the idea that "knowledge in general cannot be reduced to science, nor even to learning. Learning is the set of statements which, to the exclusion of all other statements denote or describe objects that may be declared true or false."
But in the end what does this all mean, all that we can understand from all the Critical theories are the definitions and a vague idea of what the real issue behind the definition is. But in the end all these theories do mean something, even if not clear in the beginning, after reading a couple of interesting books about these theories, one may have or form an idea of what do these all mean.

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