The Altmodern: Cross Cultural Connections

The article, “Altermodern” by Nicolas Bourriaud discusses the history of the modern, postmodern, and altermodern movements amongst art and culture. While assessing characteristics of each movement, Bourriaud hopes to define the altermodern movement. Altermodernity is described as an intersection of culture. Often post-colonial in nature, altermodernity signifies the death of postmodernity. Altermodernity is disorienting and the fusion of multiple different cultures tends to create its own place, one that did not previously exist. A byproduct that Bourriaud defines as “destructive” is that altermodernity alters the ability of the mind to perceive the constructed and ordered sequence of time.

The altermodern was created out of our seemingly “globalized” society. This is a society in which narratives can apply to people cross culturally, a society that attempts to unify a population of diverse individuals. Arguably, this altermodern movement in art and culture would not have been possible if it weren’t for the internet. Often cited as a dominant reason in much of our cultural change generationally, the internet has become a tool of communication that connects us globally. Whether through images, articles, published primary historical documents, or even personal experience blogs, we are able to interact with other cultures with no prior knowledge and without leaving the comfort of our own homes. This may well be the foundation of cross cultural art, where the ideas were born. However, Bourriaud also argues that there is a sense of hypocrisy to the claim that we have arrived at a truly “globalized” society. Bourriaud resentfully acknowledges that we still have the underlying presence of a fundamentalist perspective. Fundamentalists believe that in the process of altermodernity, where cultures are altered rather than preserved, the culture then loses its roots and therefore its significance. There is validity to both perspectives, however it would seem that there is very little chance for these two conflicting ideals to exist harmoniously on the matter of altermodernity.

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