We are at the beginning — not the end — of a long period of global economic restructuring that will be very painful. The brutality of massive budget cuts has only begun to be felt. According to whose interests this restructuring will be done is not yet set, and what new paradigm will emerge from the chaos is anyone’s guess. Partly, it depends on what we actually do now.

If art and art theory are to play a positive role in this process, they need to ditch the platitudes of “my art is my activism” and “my theory is my practice.” Moving beyond “postmodernism” has to mean a shift away from the myopia and cynicism that has characterized our recent past, if it is to mean anything at all.

Unless and until such a shift occurs, simply giving up the term or changing it out for a new one is not going to do much good. Swapping word games for a meaningful relationship to political reality was part of the problem in the first place.

Ben Davis, The Age of Semi-Post-Postmodernism

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