Understand Postmodernism: A Teach Yourself Guide. Glenn Ward BA in fine art (painting), University of Plymouth, 1990; MA in Visual Culture, Bath Spa University, 1992; PhD in film studies, University of Sussex, 2011. p. XII.
Identity as simulation
The fascination with depthless surfaces translates into a view of personal identity as a loose assemblage of cultural bits and pieces. The modernist self becomes an identity constructed in and fragmented by myriad codes and contexts. This ‘posthumanist’ approach variously presents identity as: hybrid, cyborg-like, fluid, nomadic, in a permanent state of ‘becoming’, or performative and masquerade-like. Existentialist philosophy saw the self as process more than an essence, but sought authenticity: postmodernist ‘subjectivity’ is process with authenticity abandoned. Not as bleak as they sound, postmodernist identities are escape routes from dominant conventions of gender, nationality, ethnicity and sexuality.
Not all of these versions of postmodernism agree with each other. For example, Baudrillard’s view of the society of simulation seems to describe a ‘total system’ at odds with Lyotard’s view of society as a multitude of incompatible ‘language games’. However, all reflect a widespread mood of uncertainty and contradiction. Whether this mood is dissipating or being fended off remains to be seen.
I'm not asking for existentialism to be synopized in one post, but what exactly do these nouns mean (see emboldening) in the context of, and in contradistinction to, postmodernism: