Afterdays Media focuses on archaeological views of our contemporary culture. Artifacts, art, or cultural phenomena that picture us in the past tense.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Considering the Post Industrial

So again, the focus of this little forum is on us in the past tense, generally. The point of this is to gain a certain outsider’s perspective on any number of our own practices, symbols, or traditions.  The most common lens through which to see this is the post-apocalyptic lens. However, there are other viewpoints, and they are not always backward glances.

In art and media, the post-industrial is one such perspective. This term (often used in music but also in painting, architecture, and sculpture) is still a somewhat poorly defined one. Essentially, it can be read to mean vocabularies that suggest traditions or practices that might follow our own industrial / consumer age. Something from a proposed future, but stripped of the conventions that we feel make us modern today. This is where the topic becomes quite relevant to this blog.

Themes in post-industrial art often include the renaming of past objects, the appropriation of symbols, the valuation of debris, the hybridization of vocabularies, and often a new primitivism that might follow the fall of industrial and consumer culture. Some of these premises are present in post-apocalyptic culture, but in post-industrialism there is not necessarily a presumed disastrous event or collapse. Just mutation, evolution, or fundamental paradigm shift. Also a more probable future.

I will return to the topic in future posts. For now, here are some relevant images.

“Burning Rods” by Anselm Kiefer

A building in London by Sarah Wigglesworth

Handmade album cover art by :Zoviet*France:

Atelier Complex by Anslem Kiefer

“Constructed Chaos” by James Ciosek

Repurposed High Line train tracks in New York

Daniel Bell’s 1973 economic discussion of post-industrial society.

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