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'Love her or loathe her' says Kirsty Wark of Madonna, 'you cannot underestimate the impact she has had on music, or her iconic status.'
The word 'iconic' might be the best way into a discussion of where postmodernism's collapse of high and low has led us: to a situation in which opting out of mass market phenomena simply isn't considered to be an option. The 'iconic' as an ideology means that, regardless of taste, we all have to pay attention to – and analyse, preferably in a sub-Barthesian manner infused with terms like 'guilty pleasures' and 'getting my fix' – a new canon in which commercial status and cultural status are one and the same thing. As a result, even in the academy quantitative terms have swamped qualitative ones, and criticism – co-opted and confounded by the comforting repetitions of celebrity culture and PR – is in crisis. As we approach the end of this postmodern tyranny, Momus signals what he calls Unpop as one possible exit strategy.

Momus is a singer, writer and artist living in Berlin. As well as 18 albums of 'disorienteering' pop music, he's written for Wired, Frieze, and has a weekly design and culture slot on the website of the New York Times. His first novel, The Book of Jokes, will appear in 2009, when Sternberg will also publish his Book of Scotlands, a piece of speculative non-fiction listing 1000 parallel world Scotlands.

Official Website: http://www.aaschool.ac.uk/default.aspx?section=eventsArchive&entryId=2217&pageNum=0

Added by blackbeltjones01 on October 8, 2008