Geoculture in the post-world, or how to sell tandoori chicken at McDonald's

“I don't think there is such a thing as originality. In the end, it's all a matter of degree. That was a time of feeling that I was closer to myself than I had ever been before.” Anish Kapoor

Bolívar Echeverría states in American modernity that there are a series of trends that point towards a process of deterioration in the whole of economic, political and social life in contemporary modernity. This related to a line of capitalist development defined by one of several versions of modernity, this, he says, is the "American" version.

The process of civilizational erosion in modernity within its "American" specificity differs from the European of the 19th century due to its catastrophic trend of radical magnitude. What resources can we find in postmodernity and use them properly, to try to reverse this condition and that can be really viable?

Capitalist modernity seen as a "civilizing project" whose purpose was to build a new world in the practical life of European societies in the 19th century, which would be made possible by the development of productive forces through a technical revolution.

Now, this project is based on the peculiar way of carrying out this company, ―the new civilizing construction― where the “commodification of human life and its world” acquires meaning.

Postmodernity presents the split of the social-subject, or as Echeverría says: “radicalize the “subsumption” or subordination to which the “natural form” of that life is being subjected by its “double”, the “value form” , which she herself sets up when she develops as a commodified life”.[2]

In other words, the "use-value form" of commodities no longer responds to natural-concrete needs of practical life, but to the telos of valorization of value and the "natural form" is subordinated to it.

This can be seen in parallel with what Immanuel Wallerstein calls the geoculture[3] of the modern world system (1789-1989). A period of birth, rise and death of liberalism.

Unlike others who celebrate the destruction of the Berliner Mauer as the collapse of Marxism-Leninism as an ideological force in modern society, Wallerstein identifies it with the collapse of liberalism and the end of a political-cultural era, and the gateway to the world “after liberalism”.

In addition to this, we are entering a post-hegemonic era in the world system, that is, the end of the era of US hegemony (1945-1990) and of the unipolar world, characterized by its "overwhelming advantage in economic productivity" with Europe. the West and Japan as allies.

Of the great industrial powers, the US was the only one intact in economic terms after 1945. Thus, its industries dominated the world market and with the freedom to establish a commercial bloc together with the USSR, shaping the world-economy.

“The rise of the United States to hegemony in the world-system began around 1870, in the early stages of the fall of the United Kingdom from its ancient heights, the United States and Germany vied with each other as contenders for the succession of Great Britain. "[4]

The US hegemonic period configured a unipolar geopolitical reality “…but a geopolitical reality in which the other so-called superpower, the Soviet Union, had a role, a voice, but not the power to do anything but strut around inside its cage ; and so, in 1989, the cage exploded inwards”[5] and with it the American justification and its character of geopolitical hegemony of the world-system changed.

All this historical bullshit to say that we are going through a post-modern, post-liberal and post-hegemonic era. In this sense, according to my criteria, following these authors, the 21st century represents the era of the “post-world”.

A reflection of this "post-world" is Anish Kapoor (Mumbai, 1954). This famous plastic artist has an honorary doctorate from the University of Oxford. Born to an Indian father and an Iraqi-Jewish mother, who lives and works in London.

In 2016 he presented the exhibition Archeology: Biology at the University Museum of Contemporary Art. The curator mentions:

“Anish Kapoor is one of the most recognized and influential contemporary artists in the international arena, having proposed new production strategies that involve art with the complex relationships between sensibility and thought, the Eastern and the Western, and not only because one is is subordinated to the other, but because in the creative act it manages to establish a perfect balance that derives in the aesthetic experience of its production”[6]

Globalization as a scientific category is a concept based on a multi-secular historical-empirical reference of the internationalization of the post-Renaissance economy that reached its peak after the second half of the 19th century with the second industrial revolution and with the establishment of trading companies based on that began to operate internationally (Saxe-Fernández, 1999).

The perspective of the “globalist discourse” that has been installed as a fashionable, euphoric and deterministic offer, uncritically and superficially accepted by large political and academic business publics”[7] Saxe-Fernandez calls it the “pop version” of globalization.

Which leads me to question, was pop globalism being considered when bringing an artist like Kapoor to Mexico?

Kapoor's exhibition was conceived in the context of UNAM. That is to say, democratic and secular education, thinking of the young audiences that access the MUAC. Kapoor works with commissions for public spaces and is involved in various social projects (Lampert, 2016).

Adds Delgado Masse: "His work can be defined as a poetic approach to the rigorous study of space, matter and form, where the real, the symbolic and the imaginary are combined until an original genesis of the sculptural object is found."[8]

Kapoor proposes a strange harmony of the post-industrial world by putting in tension the ideals of purity and mathematical precision of form with the concepts of the grotesque and eschatological (Delgado Masse, 2016).

In the modern world system, deep contradictions continue to exist in the national economies of class, gender, ethnicity, etc., as they have been recorded historically. Contradictions and at the same time interconnections of economies that remain national in unequal international relations processes that increase the participation of social, political, ethnic and economic agents framed by hyper-concentration.

“We live in a system in which there has been a permanent class struggle. We live in a system that has led to the continuous polarization of populations, in economic, political, social and now even demographic terms. We live in a system that from the beginning implanted racism and sexism in its structures. And of course we live in a system that has structured the same anti-systemic movements that have challenged the legitimacy and viability of the system itself.”[9]

We live in the post-world era, where the aesthetic metamorphoses into the economic and acquires a poetic character. The post-world absorbs the globalizing syncretic processes and sells them to us as aesthetic experiences.

“Yet, as we all know, in the 21st century we are surrounded by the fear, the confusion, the desperate messiness of everything.”[10]


§  Delgado Masse, Cecilia. (2016) “Poéticas del espacio”. En: Delgado Masse, Cecilia et al. Folio 043 Anish Kapoor. México, MUAC-UNAM. Pp. 11-12.

§  Echeverría, Bolívar. (2007) “La modernidad americana (claves para su comprensión)”. En: La americanización de la modernidad. México, CISAN-UNAM, Ed. Era. Cap. 1, pp. 17-49.

§  Lampert, Catherine. (2016) “Arqueología : biología”. En: Delgado Masse, Cecilia et al. Folio 043 Anish Kapoor. México, MUAC-UNAM. Pp. 19-25.

§  Saxe-Fernandez, John. (1999) “Globalización e imperialismo”. En: Globalizacion: crítica a un paradigma. México, UNAM-IIEc-DGAPA-Plaza & Janés. Cap. 1, pp. 9-68.

§  Wallerstein, Immanuel. (1989) “El siglo XX: ¿oscuridad al mediodía?”. En: La decadencia del poder estadounidense: Estados Unidos en un mundo caótico. México, Editores independientes. Cap. 2, pp. 37-48.

§  Wallerstein, Immanuel. (1996) “Después del liberalismo”. México, Siglo XXI-UNAM-CEIICH. Cap. 1, pp. 3-27.

[1] Delgado Masse, Cecilia et al. Folio 043 Anish Kapoor. Mexico, MUAC-UNAM, p. 77.

[2] Echeverria, Bolivar. (2007) “American modernity (keys to its understanding)”. In: The Americanization of modernity. Mexico, CISAN-UNAM, Ed. Era. Chap. 1 p. 18.

[3] Liberalism as a global ideology. (See: Wallerstein, Immanuel. (1996) "After liberalism." Mexico, Siglo XXI-UNAM-CEIICH. Chap. 1, p. 3).

[4] Wallerstein, Immanuel. (2005) "The Decline of American Power: America in a Chaotic World." Mexico, Independent Publishers. Chap. 2 P. 37.

[5] Wallerstein, Immanuel. (2005) "The Decline of American Power: America in a Chaotic World." Mexico, Independent Publishers. Chap. 2 P. 42.

[6] Delgado Masse, Cecilia. (2016) “Poetics of space”. In: Folio 043 Anish Kapoor. MUAC-UNAM, p. 11.

[7] Saxe-Fernández, John. Coord. (1999) "Globalization: critique of a paradigm" Mexico, UNAM - IIEc - DGAPA - Plaza & Janés. Chap. 1 p. 10.

[8] Delgado Masse, Cecilia. (2016) “Poetics of space”. In: Folio 043 Anish Kapoor. MUAC-UNAM, p. 11.

[9] Wallerstein, Immanuel. (2005) "The Decline of American Power: America in a Chaotic World." Mexico, Independent Publishers. Chap. 2 P. 45.

[10] Wallerstein, Immanuel. (2005) "The Decline of American Power: America in a Chaotic World." Mexico, Independent Publishers. Chap. 2 P. 47.