What is truth in the postmodern age? The artistic generation of the twentieth century has grown up immersed in the delirious imagination of postmodern thought, which insists upon the ultimate uncertainty of meaning and that there is self-evident truth. In Praise of Nonsense explores the possibilities and parameters of a postmodern imagination freed from the philosophical responsibilities of fiction, fact, and replication of lived experience. Mobilizing an array of scholars and contemporary artists, this study examines postmodern thinking through the lenses of identity and visual culture. Speculative, critical, and always creative in its approach, In Praise of Nonsense focuses on theories of disappearance, irony, and nsense, where the pleasures of the imaginary give rise to artistic inspiration. When truth is unhinged, so is falsity, and all artistic thinking is called into question. Ted Hiebert takes on the ambitious project of holding postmodernism accountable for its own conclusions while also considering how those conclusions might still be given philosophical and artistic form.
Ted Hiebert is assistant professor of interdisciplinary arts at the University of Washington, Bothell.