I think most metamodernists become metamodernists when they realize that the internet is a place where you can become anyone you want to become — but also a place in which people reduce you to your data in a way that’s soul-crushing. In the era of blogs, it was a question of how many blog-lists you were on, and how much traffic your stat-counter said you had, and whether people were linking to you or not. Even in the tiny ecosystem of poetry-blogging, there was a hierarchy. In the world of political blogging, it was even more clearly so. It became harder and harder to distinguish what one said from the bare fact of how many people heard one say it, as well as which people were willing to acknowledge publicly that you’d said it. It all stank.
It’s all laid out in The Dutch School book “Metamodernism”, that I just linked to my long review of. They focus on art, culture, and literature. My focus has been other trends, such as abstraction, conspiracy, social theory. I don’t know enough about architecture, but I’m sure that metamodernism has implications across the board… and much research in various fields is always tracking new ‘turns’ and paradigm shifts, and using lots of different new terms. As I said, metamodernism can actually help consolidate and say ‘hey, y’know those turns and shifts you’re talking about.. those are actually indicative of a broader shift on a different plane.. those theories can be enfolded into it..’ that’s what I’m trying to do with sociology, under metamodernism. This is what I’ve already done with the “Quantum Turn.” Of course you don’t have to agree with my theorizing, but the research is what it is and I’m just trying to make sense of it.
Sometimes metamodernists speak of the metamodern “sublime,” or the metamodern “awesome,” as a way of discussing events, artworks, and other phenomena that capture our imagination and our sense of hopefulness even as we find ourselves unable to easily “deconstruct” them. For instance, much like the very different output of Donald Trump, Donald Glover, and Marina Abramovic, Wallace’s Infinite Jest provoked anger or confusion among many simply by refusing to be readily categorized; in a world in which our inclination is to deconstruct everything into a series of neatly opposing principles, metamodern artifacts continue to thwart our sense that data can be so quickly and easily processed. Likewise, metamodern dialogues and collaborations tend to cross so many lines of affiliation, interest, convention, and (in the arts) genre that they frustrate readers trained in Modernism’s interpretive “close readings” and/or postmodernism’s deconstructive critiques. In this way, metamodernism offers us new avenues for making meaning, reading meaning, and even discussing possible solutions to old problems.