Fotograf Magazine

Jiří Šigut

Seeking and the Importance of Being Able to discern in the Age of Artificial Worlds. A Contemplation on the Cornerstones of the Current work of Jiří Šigut

Towards the end of his book The Dialectic of Modernism and Postmodernism: The Critique of Reason since Adorno,[ref] Albrecht Wellmer, „The Dialectic of Modernism and Postmodernism: The Critique of Reason since Adorno,“ The Persistence of Modernity: Essays on Aesthetics, Ethics and Postmodernism, trans. D Midgley, (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993). [/ref] the philosopher Albrecht Wellmer embarks on a contemplation of the notion of “seeking.” He relates this to a new re-definition of post-modernism, imagining it as an “attempt to record the traces of change,” an effort to prevent post-modernism from becoming a mere fad, a form of regression or a new type of ideology. In other words, “seeking” is a defence against the sense of artificiality inherent to and projected by post-modernism. The Seeker is someone whose relentless creative endeavour and activity breaks through into areas where we can catch a glimpse of the unknown, pointing towards paths in a direction which had previously seemed closed, exhausted, or done to death by previous generations. From the perspective of the mid-1980s, Wellmer wrote about the necessity for “reason to transcend itself” in art, and about the dialectic (i.e. coherent in its contradictions) relationship between the vital art (“energetics” = e. g. activism, performance art) and semiotic art (“semiotics” = art articulated in a material medium through signs and their structures). Vital art without the semiotic element is one-dimensional, as with the mere realization of a material artifact devoid of “energetic” potential. Both are therefore important and both combine to form a unity. In order for contemporary art to be authentic and yet in touch with the present day, it must move beyond this restrictive one-dimensionality. This is not necessarily a question of the output – i.e. the resultant artifact, but should rather be a question of a shift in thinking, for as it is becoming obvious with the rise of new technologies and their overspill, which in turn reduces our thought processes and activity, human thought is a far more complex process than it has hitherto seemed – since forms of thinking may include ways of attaining experience that have been artificially excluded from thought and integrated instead within other areas of human activity.

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#23 artificial worlds