On or about April 2018, human character changed. At least it did at Coachella, when Beyoncé took the stage in all her majesty—as pan-African royalty, HBCU homecoming queen, pop icon, Southern heroine, and more—for two hours of brilliant spectacle and beautiful exertion. Whether it was as radical as the inspiration for Virginia Woolf's original declaration from 1910 that I stole shamelessly to start, Beyoncé's show definitely had more marching bands and better costumes. It was a performance that worked, and worked hard, on several registers at once, and explication in emoji started almost instantly on Twitter and beyond. From the aesthetics of black nationalism to the status of her marriage, Beyoncé was explicit and ambiguous at the same time, and even now—weeks later as I am writing, months later as you are reading—there is still more to say. “To address modernism,” writes Jed...
MARK GOBLE is associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of Beautiful Circuits: Modernism and the Mediated Life (2010). He is currently at work on a book titled “Downtime: The Twentieth Century in Slow Motion,” which explores the systemic relation between the experience of slowness and the limits of high technology across a range of film, literature, and new media art.
Mark Goble; Forever Modernism. Novel 1 November 2019; 52 (3): 484–488. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00295132-7738785
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