Out of Water

Posted on October 15, 2007

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The phrase ‘like a fish out of water’: this perfectly sums up postmodernism.  The necessary objects of a modern life-style for example, the SUVs, 4X4s, and trainers; the ipods, mobile phones and adverts; t-shirts and tvs; are examples of the postmodern condition.  Our condition is one of absolute displacement.  Walk around the hapless back streets of Marylebone, or Hampstead – to use these places as examples – really one can use anywhere in London – one gigantic 4×4 is upstaged by an even bigger one two yards past, which is upstaged by an even BIGGER one than that on massive dazzling wheels.  Unbelievable.  The absurdity of it practically knocks you over.  Streets patrolled by Humvees redesigned for the middle classes, refitted and with the kind of impeccable paintwork that a Merc has, only with twice or four times the acreage – this is the only possible outcome.  The mindset is of war; that we are at war.   A war that isn’t there.  

What we are presented with is an object designed for somewhere else, for mud, rough terrain, an object designed for something other than that which it is ‘actually’ designed for – in other words, what we have is an object that has lost its story, and moreover, that has no new story since the use to which it is put is so alien to its sense.  It is not that this Humvee style object actually looks at home in, fits, this back street in Marylebone.  Indeed it just looks, is, monstrous.

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Posted in: Postmodernism