In the article “Notes on Metamoderism”, Timotheus Vermeulen and Robin van den Akker convey the idea that metamodernism is a response to 21st century world issues. Whereas modernism is focused on truth and reason, and postmodernism strives to completely cancel out the modern, metamodernism is a new, borderless lens for artists. Vermeulen and van den Akker use the word “oscillation” to describe how metamodernism pushes and pulls between modern enthusiasm and postmodern apathy. The authors state in their article that rather than a closed-minded definition, their interpretation of metamodernism is more open and inviting for debate. Metamodernism has essentially the same take in its meaning as their definition. Just as Vermeulen and van den Akker’s definition is open-ended, metamodernism is a limitless concept that “seeks a forever truth that it never expects to find” (5).
One of the characteristics of metamodernism is “neoromanticism”. Similar to the metamodernist view noted above, neoromanticism is an open-ended discussion of tragedy, the sublime, corruption, innocence, and every possibility in between. Reading this article, I was reminded of the Ground Zero memorial monuments in New York City. The two hollowed out footprints of the Twin Towers are surrounded by engravings of the victim’s names. Under the names, on the perimeter of the footprints, a fountain of water flows below street level. As neoromanticism does, this monument invoked emotion that could not be expressed in words, only felt mysteriously. The names and perimeter of the footprint reference the atrocious attacks on the building 17 years ago, while the open water in the middle can be interpreted as an inspiration for a possibly more hopeful future, without defining it. The water is continually flowing, symbolizing the forward momentum of positive change in society. Furthermore, as it is water, it reflects the forever expanding sky, reflecting the infinite (open ended) possibilities for the future.
Metamodernism is not the center of a linear tie between modernism and post-modernism. Like the memorial monuments, it is a flowing body of water, always changing and responding to the obstacles in its way to its undefined final destination. Since there is no strong attachment to either modernism or post-modernism, the in between-ness of metamodernism allows for both artists and spectator to invoke and feel emotion that is free of judgement or logical explanation.