lecture: Post Modernism

Following the modernist beliefs of moving onward and upwards after the second world war. Things begun to change when Post Modernism arrived. Post Modernism was the emergency of Youth Culture. Previously, there were never such mentioning’s of teenagers, they did not exist as such. People were classified as either a child, or from the ages before 14-16 or an adult afterwords.

These changes occurred because of Consumerism, American Culture, Social class and Television.

In the late 20th century, life had patterns to follow. For instance people would often tread in their parents and parents before theirs footsteps. People did not move around a lot, they would live in the same towns, dress extremely similar, and most commonly take upon the same trades as their mother and father, this is what they knew, and this is what they were comfortable with.


Before television, people would play instruments such as the piano, listen to the radio, and interact with people. When television was introduced, people did not expect the impact it would have on society to be so enormous. The television industry believed that people would not spend hardly any time watching television, however, this graph shows that between 2000 and 2015/16 an increase of 14 million televisions are owned in America, with the most dramatic rise between 2000 and 2002.tv statistics

When American Culture arrived on the scene after world war II through television an  film, teenagers spent most of their time in cinema’s watching Americanized TV. People became very involved in the way Americans projected themselves, as flash, glamorous, Big Business, Sexy, Low cost… People wanted a part of it.

English advert                                            American Advert

Its understandable as to why…English adverts seemed bland, and comfortable, similar to the way the Brits were living at the time, and considered to be very pre-war. America however, was flash, vibrant and screaming out style and engagement. The good life… And so American Culture began to shape English teenagers, the way they wanted to live, and the things they wanted to have.

Pop art

Pop art was a mainly American movement based on acceptance and use of artifacts.

Birthed in the UK, Pop art gives form to what people where popularizing at the time, for instance celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, comic books, commercial items like cans of soup and soft drinks. These items were at large during the 60’s and they where everywhere and so the art represented that through repetition. This is a direct representation of how everything is repeated; fashion, television, advertisements, music you name it and notice just how much is repeated. The pop art movement was also keen to take away the seriousness of previous movements such as expressionist abstract art, which was based on emotion, with no direct content, making it a rather un-solidified movement. Artists like Andy Warhol would use a bold choice of colour schemes, the use of dots would represents cheep color printing, styled like comic books with a modern life twist to them.


The idea behind the repeated soup cans was Warhol’s way of saying if I take anything, and placed it on a plinth in a gallery or projected it on a wall, is it a suggestion of how it can be given a completely different meaning all together? perhaps a new identity and even worth. Pop art was about a celebration of change in culture, Art that is about the now, and maybe a reflection of what it should be about.


American Culture

So why did we accept American Culture so readily? Well apart from its bright colours and catchy lines, the products that were being produced in america, were like that of a space age, cars were dynamic, strong architecturally structured, long, bold and in your face. People saw this and thought I want that kind of attention, its cool, its trendy and its now.

American culture did reflect the space age, in the 1950’s the first satellite transmitter was sent into space and it was a revolution, america seemed to be way ahead in terms of style, power and intelligence.ConstellationGPS.gifuHP01ER.gif

American culture was genius. in 1955 – 6% of the population were ‘Teenagers’. In 1964 – this rose to 10% of the population being teenagers, which is a matter of thousands, this small in percentage but large in reality increase meant that people were now beginning to feel safer, post war families were bringing children into the world and so in 1959 a massive 80% of the teenagers were in employment. This is where the genius comes in, advertising and selling companies realized this. Teenagers were earning money, but had no financial obligations to spend it on, no bills, no mortgage, the teenagers were a perfect customer market and so they were targeted.

So, the United Kingdom wanted to move away from the fears and memories of war, art was moving on, and so it was time for fashion and music to do the same. Teenagers wanted and still want to today, to be different, unique and individual to this earth. Visiting the cinemas gave them the perfect start to brainstorm ideas on how to do this, by watching American Cultured films. They were fascinated…

and so people began to rock, to shake rattle and roll, to move their hips in every direction they could… And they loved it. Parents and critiques however were in total shock by his gyrating hip movements and the way he danced in a provocative way and in response to this,  after being broad-casted on the Ed Sullivan show they decided to censor film him from the waist upwards. This was an idea to send less of a sexual image to the younger generations, but of course this couldn’t stop Elvis’s ball rolling, nor his hips moving.

Elvis took black American music and gave it a white spin, and he was known as the king of rock… Youth felt as if he was theirs, they idolized him, mimicked him, because he showed them how to be different.


Fashion took a change around this time too. Post war teenagers were given standard de-mob suits. These post war suits were old fashioned even for that time, they were the same style clothing their parents wore, but, since things were changing…

Along came the Teddy boy style…

The de-mob suits were clearly a representation of their parents, the teenagers are stood uncomfortably, almost as if they were under the watchful eye of their parents, ensuring they were presentable, following traditions proudly. However, since the Teddy Boy suits rocked onto the scene. The teenagers were now owning it. Their mannerisms, their persona and certainly their confidence has clearly been maxed up. They had their own identity in these suits and all aspects of the 60’s were looking up for this popular youth culture.

Teddy boy style was influenced by the Edwardian period, they were the first youth generation that created its own style and actually to have it accepted was another level. Post war rationing was coming to an end and teenagers had money to spend on entertainment and expensive fashion. Expensive is what it was too, the full teddy boy suit would consist of a extra long, drape style jacket that had a velvety trim, usually produced in darker shades. It was not fitted and contrasted against the pencil like drainpipe trousers which were worn high or taken in short at the ankles to reveal a flash pair of socks.


The 60’s was an exciting time, people felt like the word was looking up and people bought into the the weird wonderful and odd things that were available to them. With saying this, the 60’s was also the death of modernism, a time where people became paranoid with conspiracies… People begun to become suspicious with the murders that were happening in america at the time. Martin Luther king was murdered, along with boby kenedy in 1968

After world war II the soviet union lost 10 times more men, and were in a great deal of devastation because of the Germans invading Russia. Soviet union were so devastated that they begun taking action to ensure that if this was to ever come around again, they would be both more prepared and less in the firing line. The iron Curtain is ‘a notional barrier separating the former Soviet bloc and the West prior to the decline of communism that followed the political events in eastern Europe in 1989.’

Soviet union placed tanks at the forefront of the union. These were known as annex states. States such as Poland, Romania, East Germany etc are all pretty much used as a first line of attack, to keep the west from attacking soviet union and keeping them with moderate peace.

The cold war started after the second world war, as two opposing super states America and The Soviet Union begun to spread their ideology. America being capitalist, where everything is privetly owned and used as prophet, opposing soviet union was a communist state, where they believed that every person deserved to create a common wealth, all centered around a certain ideology. The cold war was a series of proxy wars with mass amounts of intimidation, which came to the production of large nuclear weapons which both states had each other at point blank, thankfully this issue was calmed and both states agree’d to lower their weapons. If it was not for this, we would have destroyed the entire earth.

The Vietnam war started when France took over control of Vietnam in the 1800 for its rice and rubber exports that were valuable. Due to colonization Vietnamese farmers lost their land and grew poor while the french grew richer. This created tension between the two and during world war II Ho chi min began to recruit an army to battle against the french, this was named the Viet Minh, and resulted in war between the two. Americas involvement came from the domino theory, which was the fear that the surrounding Asian countries would start living with the same Communist beliefs as Vietnam. America sent large amounts of money and troupes to help the south to win the war against the communists and many had little doubt of them loosing. American soldiers were well equipped in both marine army and air force soldiers but lacked in skills when fighting in a jungle like terrain. This gave the Viet Minh the upper-hand, fighting a gorilla war digging huge tunnels and attacking in small surprise attacks to pick off the american soldiers. American citizens were perplexed as to why so many Americans were dying for such a small country at the other side of the world. So protests from the American citizens finally encouraged the America to pull out of the war in 1973. Viet Minh took over the south and created a communist union, however times have changed since then and citizens have taken on a market economy approach, where businesses and consumers decide what they want to buy and sell.

Now media is even more concerned because were were turning against their establishments, after seeing what the Americans were doing to the citizens of the vietnam war, the riots became increasingly more aggressive as so did their passions. Many died from tear gas, resulting in the media to censor most of what they put on the news today. this is why how we think has changed, also how we view things too. The thoughts of changing things through design deteriorated and we slipped into post modernism.

Moving on, we became involved in the throw away society. This became large in the product and interior design industries as we begun to ponder the idea that something need not to stay the same, but could actually be changed more frequently. They wondered why we would pay such expensive amounts for a sofa for instance around £6,000, when production could allow us to create short lasting paper chairs that could be thrown away and replaced in an instant? adhering to fashion change and a worry less on spoilage. In the 60’s and 70’s blow up chairs became popular, still navigating around the fun and excitement of the 60’s they were designed in all types of fancy styles and colours created from cheep plastics and were literally at peak in design ideas.




People begun to become suspicious with the murders that were happening in america at the time. Martin Luther king was murdered, alig with boby kenedy in 1968


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