The ongoing allure of the old

Our God is Speed picks up on our recent post on internet-induced nostalgia and the pervasive “fetish of the failed, forgotten and the marginal”, and how it might be informed by “a deeper sociological narrative, springing from a sense of dread or impasse with where we’ve arrived in recent years.” The essay on the flawed concept of Hauntological Futures, from Seven posts about the future at booktwo.org (found via Rhizome) describes a creative state of cultural limbo brought upon by failed utopias and the endless ‘resurrection of an imagined past which is still too drenched in pure nostalgia to serve any revolutionary purpose.’

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But what kind of revolution? There’s nothing like the sudden appearance of a massive, chaotic social rift to send us all rushing back to the cosy embrace of nostalgia, hiding under our hand-stitched Etsy blankets. Of course these things are rather thin and unnourishing and offer no solution or alternative. But, to play devil’s advocate, people are not rioting for a return to some mythologised past, but rather to acquire the status and possessions that they believe (however misguided) define their status in the present and the future. The author of Hauntological Futures continues: ‘I am so bored of nostalgia. Of letterpress and braces and elaborate facial hair. I appreciate these things, but I think there’s something wrong with a culture that fetishises them to the extent that we currently do.’ Very probably. But such fetishists represent a very small part of wider culture, and their obsessions are – it would seem – almost entirely without impact or consequence. Is there a term for a life lived entirely without nostalgia, without any capacity for romantic and emotive engagement with the past? Futurist doesn’t seem to cut it.

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Yes, it’s a collection of vintage office supplies / the (now censored) Olympic Tube (original) both via Theo Inglis’s beautiful blog / related to the above: Cosmopolitan Scum is taking (Iain) Sinclair personally / Graphical Distractions seems to have gone a bit quiet / literary talismans at L’Eugenio tascabile / Notes From The Zeitgeist / Standing in front of a bookcase, feeling baffled, Tim Abrahams on librariana and the Norman D Stevens Collection of Library Architecture and how libraries are evolving as spaces, not just services. See also the linked essay on Larkin and his libraries by Hugh Pearman.

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Other things. The Roman Roads of London, at Studies in Urban Order / play with a Solar System Builder / time travel, stop motion style: See ya 5 minutes ago! We especially love the keyboard at 0.13s / Kodak Chronology of Motion Picture Films / Shauna Lee Lange on her colored pencil inventory. Her flickrstream / SITO, ‘a website for individual and collaborative artists’ / Andrew Holmes’ Gas Tank City series, contemporary photo realism.

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2 Responses to The ongoing allure of the old

  1. Theo says:

    Thanks again for the mention! and compliment! Hadn’t seen that the olympic tube print wasn’t on offer any more. Didn’t expect that

    • things magazine says:

      London Transport are just about the most ruthless organisation in the world when it comes to their copyright. Mind you, they have all this to look out for.

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