Democratising the statement of fact

 It is clear by now that Notes on Metamodernism is characterised by an   emerging worldview that regards contemporary culture from a transcendental perspective. Essentially, the metamodern seeks understanding by moving beyond the modern and the postmodern into uncharted territory typified by a deep fascination with oscillating between binaries of all sorts. As mentioned in the editorial piece of this blog (‘Strategies of the metamodern’), the modern and the postmodern are both thought to ‘signify a democratisation of the relationship between the sayable and the visible.’ Where this is true, I believe the value metamoderism brings to contemporary thought is its potential to extend beyond the sayable and the visible. Simultaneously, it democratises what is otherwise not said and not seen since it takes the interpretation of the personal seriously.The question from this perspective would be: What does metamodernism mean for the representation and documentation of history within visual media? Consider Leopold von Ranke’s famous prediction that the time will come when ‘we shall base modern history, no longer on the reports even of contemporary historians […] but rather on the narratives of eyewitnesses, and on genuine and original documents’.[1] Unquestionably, the time has indeed arrived. Many film and television historical narratives now demonstrate a profound interest in presenting and re-presenting the accounts of witnesses while screening archive footage in relation to historical events.

However, a filmic image that, as Henri Bergson would say, frees the viewer ‘from those conditions of time and place’ upon which our experience of the world seems to depend, still appears to be absent.[2] Therefore, what is still called for is the following: images that move beyond simple representation towards images that seek to understand the effects of global events.

This, in my opinion is achievable through self-reflexive artistic interpretation. In this regard I believe metamoderism may have a significant role to play since it can present a valuable opportunity to also democratise factual statements thereby adding to the intricate network that is the representation of history. Such images would notably become authentic multi-perspectival views that not only document the said and the seen, but also add to these by revealing the hidden complexities of thought and experience.


[1] Hughes-Warrington, Marnie. Fifty key thinkers on history, London: Routledge, 2000, p. 295. See also: Ranke, History of the Reformation in Germany, 1845-1847, I : x.)
[2] Ansell-Pearson, Keith & John Mullarkey, Henri Bergson: Key writings, London: Continuum International Publishing Group, 2002, p. 235.

There is one comment

  1. Kees van den Brom

    This is fascinatingly interesting! Where does the idea come from? How does one cite the article? Thank you very much.

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