Altermodern, a portmanteau word defined by Nicolas Bourriaud, is an attempt at contextualizing art made in today’s global context as a reaction against standardisation and commercialism. It is also the title of the Tate Britain’s fourth Triennial exhibition curated by Bourriaud.

Altermodern became one more step in overcoming postmodernism, the end of which was announced by many researchers.

Prerequisites for the emergence of a new definition of Nicolas Bourriot gave back in 2005 during a lecture at the conference of the Association of Arts of Australia and New Zealand, which outlined the first key points of his future concept. According to him, the artists are in search of a new modernity based on the concept of translation of local cultural values and embedding, linking them to the global network.

If modernism in the early twentieth century is characterized as a widely Western cultural phenomenon, and postmodernism is based on the ideas of multiculturalism, origins and identity, Altermodern is expressed in the language of global culture. Altermodern is a kind of “synthesis between modernism and post-colonialism”.

In his keynote speech to the 2005 Art Association of Australia & New Zealand Conference, Nicolas Bourriaud explained:

Artists are looking for a new modernity that would be based on translation: What matters today is to translate the cultural values of cultural groups and to connect them to the world network. This “reloading process” of modernism according to the twenty-first-century issues could be called altermodernism, a movement connected to the creolisation of cultures and the fight for autonomy, but also the possibility of producing singularities in a more and more standardized world.

Altermodern can essentially be read as an artist working in a hypermodern world or with supermodern ideas or themes.

Altermodern based on creolization when culture intersect, absorb part of each other, as opposed to multiculturalism.

Also one of the principles of alternative is heterochrony, when human history is not thought of as linear, but consisting of several times. The works of contemporary artists reflect the interweaving of text and image, time and space between each other. The artist travels through modern and historical periods, isolates signs from them, and thereby, comprehends “here and now.” He becomes a sort of nomad: in space, in time and among signs.

Altermodern includes the concept of hybridization, when modern art reflects the desire to overcome national boundaries, become a network, hypertext.

The artist of the alter-modern has a globalized perception, freely crosses cultural landscapes.

At the exhibition, key “ideas” of the alternative were formed around which a narrative was built: borders, documentation (docu-fiction), energy, heterochrony, travel, viatorization, (from Latin “traveler”).

The Altermodern is characterized by collective authorship, fragmentation, complete decentralization, alterego-identification, alternative forms of exhibition space, and so on. Altermoderna offers a variety of alternatives that can cause disorientation in artistic creation and perception. It reacts and follows the postmodern.

Tate Britain 2009
The Tate exhibition includes a series of four one-day events (called “Prologues”), aiming to “introduce and provoke debate” around the Triennial’s themes. Each Prologue includes lectures, performances, film and a manifesto text and attempts to define what the curator sees as the four main facets of Altermodern

The end of postmodernism
Cultural hybridisation
Travelling as a new way to produce forms
The expanding formats of art

Source from Wikipedia