This article offers a speculative model intended to demonstrate that the sublime remains a viable construct in contemporary artworld contexts. Specifically, it proposes that sublimity and its neglected Other “profundity”—conceptualized as an irreducible pair—are well-suited to thinking about how to take seriously the still vital legacies bequeathed by postmodernism, while attempting to move beyond its more debilitating nihilistic and relativistic tendencies. First, somewhat neglected aspects of the Late Classical rhetorical heritage of the sublime are reviewed. Second, a model is progressively developed, building upon a formulation of human discourse articulated by Paul Ricoeur, and then introducing ideas relating to irresolvable self-contradiction and dialogical processes, as found in the thought of Western philosophers, such as Hegel, and in a number of Eastern philosophies, particularly Daoism. Finally, this model is applied to a brief discussion of an original moving image artwork by the authors, Sounds of Unridden Waves, published in a previous issue of the Journal of Asia-Pacific Popular Culture (2021).

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