Western Modernism has begun with a promise of progress through reason. Carried by the feeling of the dawn of a new age, technical achievements, economic calculations, and political upheavals set new directions that evaporated the stagnant and the status quo and at the end of which a just society was to emerge. In the process, art provided constantly renewing signs and imaginary worlds, which im- and explicitly aimed at a freer, better, and fairer future through the description of conditions, critique and utopia. Given war, the pandemic, and the climate crisis, however, no one wants to believe in such progress today. So what is the task of art in our present, where the modern spirit of progress has long since given way to late-modern self-doubt?
Robert Misik, born in Vienna in 1966, is an Austrian journalist and non-fiction author. He writes regularly in "Standard," "Falter," for "profil" the Berlin "tageszeitung" and "Die Zeit." For his essay "Die falschen Freunde der einfachen Leute" Robert Misik was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize for Political Books 2019, in 2009 the received the State Prize for Cultural Journalism of the Republic of Austria. Most recently, he published "Putin. Ein Verhängnis" by Picus Verlag and "Das große Beginnergefühl. Moderne, Zeitgeist, Revolution" by Suhrkamp Verlag.