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.

To read the entire article, order
#23 artificial worlds