Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

Hypermodernism

Hypermodernism

Hypermodernism is a cultural, artistic and intellectual movement that furthers ideas of modernism and postmodernism as a way to understand how society, politics, culture, and economics have changed as a result of the rapid advancement of technology in the late 20th and 21st centuries. In such an era of newly created digital arenas, ideas about human existence have become altered, precisely what hypermodernism seeks to investigate.

This may sound highly theoretical, but hypermodernist philosophy can help try to comprehend modern life and the world today. So, let's find out more about hypermodernism!

Hypermodernism Meaning

We can define hypermodernism as an artistic, literary, and cultural movement which is particularly concerned with understanding culture, life and reality amid new, constantly changing technologies of the digital age. Hypermodernism is considered a successor to the mid-century intellectual movements of modernism and postmodernism (the two main artistic movements of the 20th century).

Modernism arose in the first half of the 20th century as a reaction to a post-industrial revolution society which saw changes in technology, culture and art, as well as the detrimental effects of war. Modernist philosophy largely sought to create a stable idea of truth amid widespread change and violence, attempting to create grand narratives capable of explaining great philosophical concerns.

Postmodernism arose in the mid-20th century as a reaction to the limitations of modernist thought, working to deconstruct and question the existence of absolute truth. By nature, however, postmodern philosophy remains attached to the binary created by modernism, still relying on the existence of its predecessor's boundaries to prove them unnecessary and ultimately remove them.

Hypermodernism, however, does not concern itself with form at all. The philosophy neglects even to construct any ideas of boundary. Instead, it forms itself to mirror newly developing ideas of life and the self in the digital age, where traditional, modernist (and even postmodernist) assumptions about the confines of space and time no longer make sense.

A post-historical era and science fiction

The philosophy of hypermodernism questions how the digital revolution has come to affect perceptions of human existence. Nowadays it is hard to tell what 'reality' is, and its very concept is called into question as digital simulations and the notion of virtuality create new fields of reality. Hypermodernism attempts to create ways of understanding and describing these new dimensions. There is a philosophical need for an altered perspective that is capable of reflecting on our contemporary situation, focusing on our society's position in a 'post-historical' era.

'Post-history' can be defined as an imagined period that occurs in the space beyond recorded history. In effect, it exists as the period in which the concurrent recording of the future is occurring (i.e. the history of the future).

Because we cannot see into the future, there has been a reliance on history to develop theories about what it could be like, such as in science fiction.

Science fiction is a genre of speculative fiction that creates and imagines futuristic concepts, often including ideas about advanced technology and science, including how society might look and its potential consequences. Important science fiction works include H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds (1897), Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932), and a plethora of films.

Science fiction is inherently rooted in history as it is, by nature, speculative. It uses philosophies of the past to build a future, and crucially, to criticise the present.

Hypermodernism, in contrast, exists in a kind of extended present, rather than an imagined future, and so, there is no reliance on history as a chronological continuum. We are already living in a new space and time, our reality is already integrated with technology which may mean that looking to the past is not necessary.

New discoveries and knowledge are constants in our reality, making historical knowledge no longer a stable or useful source to rely upon.

The philosophy of hypermodernism

Ultimately, we can see hypermodernism as a philosophical exploration of the current, digital world, attempting to create more accurate ways to understand human existence within newly developed dimensions. New concepts like virtual reality and online avatars create a confusion in the way we perceive our existence. There are no accurate ways to model this altered reality as past concepts of space and time now seem limiting.

Hypermodernist thought seeks to create this new model, in which we can attempt to understand the 'now', and move past antiquated philosophies of the past to focus on the present moment. It attempts to create a new language in art and poetics that can help understand this new reality just as code understands the digital binary.

Hypermodernism and Postmodernism

We can perhaps think of hypermodernism as postmodernism warped into hyper-speed, placed into overdrive by technology, crashing through and destroying the limitations of the human condition proposed by modernist theory.

In dismantling this binary, hypermodernism is able to adapt and filter postmodern philosophical thought through a modern, technological lens in which 21st-century overconsumption and rapidity reign as general conditions.

In literature, hypermodernism is considered part of the postmodern tradition as there are many thematic overlaps between the two. However, it can be argued that this is rather limiting as hypermodernism does not adhere to the same binary that postmodernism and modernism do: it has become liberated by new advances in technology.

Hypermodernism Literature

Now that we have understood the philosophy of hypermodernism, we can consider its presence in literature. Hypermodern literature can be defined as a text, or literature, that performs its message without the limitations of history (both of the past and the future), instead existing wholly in the present. We can even consider certain textual forms of social media as part of hypermodern literature.

Hypermodern literature can be characterised by including elements such as:

  • new human consciousness

  • flexible self-identity

  • new technologies

  • a focus on the present moment and immediacy

  • a strong sense of irony

  • references to magic

  • emphasis on empowering the individual through progress and self-improvement

  • some elements of science-fiction

Hypermodernism Examples

Some examples we can consider are works by authors like Don DeLillo and Donna Haraway.

White Noise (1985)

Don DeLillo's 1985 novel White Noise is an interesting novel that explores some elements of hypermodernism. It follows the narrator, Jack Gladney, an American college professor in a small town. The novel is, in parts, hard to follow, especially as DeLillo's protagonist spends much time detailing seemingly inconsequential details and many events seem to have no impact on the plot.

The novel is largely concerned with death, and Jack's fear of death in particular. DeLillo comments on modern society's attempts to sideline this fear, pushing it out of sight, however, the novel constantly circles back to this idea, forcing the reader to understand it as part of an inevitable reality.

In the novel, artificiality comes to seem so true to life that it is often mistaken for reality. Appearance versus reality becomes confusing as many characters, especially Jack, understand it as part of their own identity as well as a fundamental part of the world around them, but still struggle to discern between the two. The presence of the SIMUVAC (Simulated Evacuation) in the novel and the existence of simulations allows for endless duplications of reality in which boundaries are blurred.

With this technology, ideas are raised by DeLillo about its ever-present nature. The constant humming of machines is almost audible throughout the novel as technology has merged with the fabric of daily life, perhaps as much as humans themselves. In DeLillo's narrative, voices of machinery and of humanity have equal say, often becoming tangled up in each other in many ways.

Donna Haraway

American author Donna Haraway (1944-) is a prominent postmodern writer whose works explore many of the philosophies of hypermodernism. Her prominent essay 'A Cyborg Manifesto' (1985) interestingly considers the concept of 'cyborg' which stands as a rejection of rigid boundaries especially as they relate to the separation of human and machine (comparable to how they once stood between human and animal).

The essay largely criticises identity politics and how they present ideas of feminism. She urges modern feminists to look past limitations of traditional ideas of gender, developing a posthumanist theory about how modern society can move forwards in the age of the 'cyborg' where man and machine become one.

Posthumanism is the artistic and philosophical idea that technology can alter, transform or perhaps eliminate humanity. It considers ideas of technological advances and how they can affect the evolutionary process.

Haraway interestingly interprets hypermodernism as a fusion of humanity and technology, as a way for society to move forwards into the future, eliminating identity politics, urging for the collapse of Western, patriarchal hegemony, creating a unified human subject.

Identity politics is a phrase used to describe the tendency for people of shared characteristics (e.g. gender, religion, social background, race etc) to form exclusive political alliances.

Haraway's theory argues that in embracing a cyborg identity, society will become more accepting: the limitations of boundary will no longer exist as humanity will exist in a state of fluidity in which identities can be flexible and, in some cases, contradictory. This will result in an ultimate end to oppression.

Hypermodernism - Key Takeaways

  • Hypermodernism is a cultural, literary and artistic movement that arose at the end of the 20th century.
  • Its philosophy is characterised as a reaction to the pervasiveness of new technology in everyday life.
  • It is a successor to the Modernist and Postmodernist movements.
  • Hypermodernist literature can be considered postmodernist in the overlap of philosophies and its poetic treatment of them.
  • Some important hypermodernist works include Don DeLillo's White Noise and Donna Haraway's 'A Cyborg Manifesto', both published in 1985.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hypermodernism

Hypermodernist literature can take many forms but is largely characterised by focusing on the present moment, and includes 

elements such as:


  • new human consciousness

  • flexible self-identity

  • new technologies

  • a focus on the present moment and immediacy

  • a strong sense of irony

  • references to magic

  • emphasis on empowering the individual through progress and self-improvement

  • some elements of science-fiction

Hypermodern philosophy largely arose at the end of the 20th century as a offshoot of postmodernism with a particular focus on technology. 

Modernism was an artistic and cultural movement that occurred in the early to mid-20th century. It was incredibly important in considering new ideas about humanity, existence and truth. It also led to the development of many important, subsequent movements such as postmodernism and hypermodernism.

In literature, an example of hypermodernism is the presence of technology and its effects on everyday life.

Final Hypermodernism Quiz

Question

What is hypermodernism?

Show answer

Answer

A cultural, literary and artistic movement, arising at the end of the 20th century that considers the effects of new technology on human life and existence.

Show question

Question

What were the preceding movements to hypermodernism?

Show answer

Answer

Modernism and postmodernism

Show question

Question

Why is hypermodernism different from postmodernism?

Show answer

Answer

Postmodernism still remains attached to the binary created by modernism, existing in the same dimensional planes.


Hypermodernism, however, rejects these dimensions in the face of new ideas of space and time presented by technology.

Show question

Question

What is post-history?

Show answer

Answer

'Post-history' is an imagined period that occurs in the space beyond recorded history. In effect, it exists as the period in which the concurrent recording of the future is occurring (i.e. the history of the future).

Show question

Question

Why is hypermodernism different from science fiction?

Show answer

Answer

Science fiction is speculative as it relies on the knowledge of history, however, hypermodernism is concerned with the current reality in which past theories and philosophies no longer make sense.

Show question

Question

What are some current concepts of hypermodernism?

Show answer

Answer

Virtual reality, online spaces and online avatars.

Show question

Question

How does hypermodernism present itself in literature?

Show answer

Answer

Hypermodernist literature considers the impact of modern technology on everyday life, with a sustained focus on the present.

Show question

Question

What is an example of a hypermodernist novel?

Show answer

Answer

White Noise (1985) by Don DeLillo

Show question

Question

What is an example of a theoretical hypermodern text?

Show answer

Answer

'A Cyborg Manifesto' (1985) by Donna Haraway

Show question

Question

What is posthumanism?

Show answer

Answer

It is the artistic and philosophical idea that technology can alter, transform or perhaps eliminate humanity. 

Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Hypermodernism quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.