To explore art is to explore man
During the pandemic, what I have referred to as “metamodernity” began, a new era in which man begins to feel convinced that he inhabits an unknown environment that does not distinguish between the material and the immaterial, where “tangible reality” and “virtual reality” will have a similar relevance.
The pandemic was one of the accelerators for the metamodernity I am referring to, that which not only prepares the construction of a digital scenography that impels us towards a different way of conceiving reality, but also normalizes the paradox on which the second part of the 21st century will probably rest, where a computer set will be the imaginary home of the human being. However, from a general perspective, the metamodern man, even if technologically equipped, has not been very different from that of the last millennia. It is not difficult to think of contemporary man as an ancient Greek who travels by subway; a Roman who cooks with sophisticated utensils, or a medieval crusader who rides a car and wields a smartphone as a weapon of survival.
In “The End of Modernity” (1985), Gianni Vattimo considered that “even technique is a fable, a saga, a transmitted message… The finished nihilism… calls us to live a fabulized experience of reality, an experience that is also our only possibility of freedom”.
From this idea, exploring the properties of art is inevitable. The artistic endeavor is a condition of possibility for a form of freedom. Through fables, stories and the various fantastic worlds of art, man transcends himself. From ancient times, art, even in its most primitive manifestations, has led human beings to glimpse meta-realities. It is not the ephemeral daydream that can produce an advertising campaign or a political speech, but the wise allegory that reveals truths to the eyes of the human conscience. Through the fable, art bewitches the material object, filling it with new properties. Next to the “fabulized” object, the “non-fabulized” object looks banal. After entering the artistic perspective, it is impossible to see the world as before. Art is like the questioning of the child who, from his state of purity, interrupts with his sharp innocence the automatism in which the adult sleeps.
Therefore, man of all times has lived the meta-experience of being and not being, of inhabiting simultaneously a reality “outside himself” and another “in himself”. Today’s man is prepared for the new century because he has always lived “virtuality”, which, as fantasy, is inherent to him.
In the metamodern era, man lives sheltered in the corner of technology and information. He has been reduced to that corner in the absence of certainty. He wishes to escape and seeks to be enchanted. However, it is the same old human being.
More than half a century ago, technological networking led us to believe in the possibility of a “globalized” planet. In 1962, Marshall McLuhan spoke of the “global village,” suggesting that global communication would make the planet a more manageable place. For many, it would be a society that would move towards the homogenization of thought.
From these new realities begins the process of a new global thinking, a thinking in which opposing views coexist. Despite the dichotomies between different thoughts, it is a collective thinking, since ideas, however contrasting they may be, are placed in the same computer basket of the Internet. Interconnection has allowed the exchange of information between distant geographic points, even if such exchange rarely means dialogue. Dialogue requires openness with the other; deep reflection requires time with oneself. The inter-connected world does not necessarily bring us closer together. It makes us aware of everything and nothing.