|Marcus A. Jansen, "Surreal" (2009)|
Marcus Jansen's "Surreal," featured above, illustrates the tenacity but also the continued appeal of the postmodern aesthetic. It also reminds me of one of my favourite book covers: Faber and Faber's first edition of Paul Auster's New York Trilogy. Its cover perfectly captures the neo-noir aesthetic of Auster's postmodern detective story with its pastiche of American objects cast, along with the solitary figure, against a monochromatic backdrop. As much as I love this book, it's hard not to see a similar logic (recall Marx's explanation of the process of commodification in Capital) at work in Auster's description of the detective genre. "In the good mystery," Auster writes in City of Glass, "there is nothing wasted, no sentence, no word that is not significant. And even if it is not significant, it has the power to be so – which amounts to the same thing…even the slightest, most trivial thing, can bear connection to the outcome of the story, nothing must be overlooked. Everything becomes essence."