Cover image of the review

Kieran Butler and collaborators: Rainbow Bois and Magical Gurls

3 Feb 2018
24 Jan - 10 Feb 2018

A few years ago there was a quasi-theoretical attempt at naming a new cultural epoch to be called “metamodernism.” The term was coined by Dutch philosophers Robin van den Akker and Timotheus Vermeulen who, in a video produced by Frieze, oozed effortless Scandinavian cool (search YouTube: “what is metamodernism”). Metamodernism, they explained, is a way of labelling a cultural mood that has followed postmodernism. They argue this mood is characterised by a tension or binary between sincerity (modernist optimism, idealism, positivity, desire) and irony (postmodernist pessimism, scepticism, humour, resignation); a binary Akker and Vermeulen find in the films of Wes Anderson or the books of David Foster Wallace. This theory aged quickly and there was, anyway, a sense of wank associated with the line of thought that probably contributed to its rapid jettison from intellectual consciousness. But, despite this, I often come back to the video of those two Dutch philosophers strolling along Amsterdam’s canals smoking cigarettes, and think that just maybe there really is a grain of truth in what they were saying.

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