what is ‘modern’? modernism and solarpunk

2022 is a century on from the ‘birth of Modernism’:

Modernism is a cultural and philosophical movement that emerged in the West during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s a complex hydra-headed beast that was pervasive in the arts, but also spread through modern industrial societies influencing architecture and science.

BBC Radio 4 – Start the Week, Modernism

At the centre of Radio 4’s output is “1922: The Birth Of Now”… Presented by Matthew Sweet, the series investigates 10 momentous events that took place in 1922, a crucial year for modernism, and traces their impact through to today, from the Soviet Shabolovka Tower to the development of the first aircraft carrier; from the revolutionary theatre of Berthold Brecht through to the new sounds of Louis Armstrong. Matthew Sweet says: “The writers and artists of 1922 made a powerful claim on the idea of the Now. And it still holds.”

Radio 4 and Radio 3 explore the legacy of Modernism – Media Centre

BBC Radio 4 – 1922: The Birth of Now

But is this Solarpunk?

Probably not…

This is from the founding document of 2014:

Solarpunk: Notes toward a manifesto

Solarpunk is about finding ways to make life more wonderful for us right now, and more importantly for the generations that follow us – i.e., extending human life at the species level, rather than individually. Our future must involve repurposing and creating new things from what we already have (instead of 20th century “destroy it all and build something completely different” modernism). Our futurism is not nihilistic like cyberpunk and it avoids steampunk’s potentially quasi-reactionary tendencies: it is about ingenuity, generativity, independence, and community… 

Tumblr lit up within the last week from this post envisioning a form of solar punk with an art nouveau Edwardian-garden aesthetic, which is gorgeous and reminds me of Miyazaki. There’s something lovely in the way it reacts against the mainstream visions of overly smooth, clean, white modernist iPod futures. Solarpunk is a future with a human face and dirt behind its ears.

Solarpunk: Notes toward a manifesto | Project Hieroglyph

And yet, if you look at the Shukhov Tower and other design ideas of the 1920s, there is definitely something ‘postmodern’ about them both:

Buckminster Fuller: ‘father of Solarpunk’ – Sidmouth Solarpunk

Building a cheaper, greener house: the geodesic dome – Sidmouth Solarpunk

Finally, there is the discussion over ‘eco-modernism’ – a subject for a future posting:

Why ecomodernism won’t save us : solarpunk

photo: File:Shukhov Tower 030709a photo by Arssenev.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Shukhov Tower – Wikipedia