'The hauntings recounted by ghost narratives are not merely instances of the past reasserting itself in a stable present, as is usually assumed; on the contrary, the ghostly return of traumatic events precisely troubles the boundaries of past, present, and future, and cannot be written back to the complacency of a homogeneous, empty time. The ghost always presents a problem, not merely because it might provoke disbelief, but because it is only admissible insofar as it can be domesticated by a modern concept of time.' - Carrie Clanton
'Le Corbusier never had one of his designs built in the UK, but the closest thing to a British Corbusian building might be St. Peter’s Seminary in Cardross, Scotland. The building was designed by the Gillespie Kidd & Coia office and completed in 1966 ...
What you find when you go there – hidden on a hilltop just outside of Cardross, west of Glasgow – is amazing and horrific at the same time. The majestic piece of modernist architecture, featuring many imaginative elements, was practically obsolete by the time it was completed. The catholic institutions had witnessed decline, and by the end of the 1970s only some 20 students attended the college.After merely twenty years of use as a catholic college, seminary and monastery, the structure was abandoned in the early 1980s.' - Mark Minkjan
'As kitsch, nostalgically rendered interfaces, Apple apps developed a unique style of their own and critics ostensibly desired a way to refer to that style while sounding as sophisticated as possible. In heated online debates over companies as widely discussed as Apple, it helped to throw outlandish words like "skeuomorphism" into your anti-(or pro-)iOS forum scribblings since it gave the impression that you were embedded within the discourse, even controlling it and, naturally, one step ahead of the many people for whom the term was completely alien. Hence the popularity of this attractive yet somewhat irrelevant word in the most popular design debate of recent years.' - Chris Baraniuk
'Kode9, Ms Haptic and MFO were still developing their live audio-visual rework of Chris Marker's 1962 film essay La Jetée when Marker passed away last July. His absence intensifies the themes of their collaborative performance piece. Just as the ghostliness of the film’s female character is their structural focus, so Marker now haunts what they call Her Ghost.
The mysterious, hypnotic influence of La Jetée’s woman on the male protagonist is a crucial part of what drives his story. Obliged to travel through time after an (atomic) Third World War in order to save the human race from its own past, he encounters and repeatedly returns to her. The title of the rework comes from a line in Marker’s original script: “She calls him her ghost.” Typical to the way La Jetée plays against linear temporal logic, naming him her ghost confounds the subjective order of the film, the time-traveller becoming apparition.' - Melissa Bradshaw
Review of Simon Reynolds' Retromania: Pop Cultures Addiction to its Own Past' by James Parker
'This review begins by positioning the book relative to Reynolds' previous work, a close reading of which, it is argued, reveals a specifically 'modernist' vision of pop and the function of music to which Reynolds has remained committed for virtually the entire duration of his career. The arguments in the book itself are then submitted to a critical analysis, with particular attention paid to Reynolds' claims about technology and recent developments in the musical underground. Finally, it is suggested that Reynolds' book is basically persuasive, and that it is best understood as a provocation. Ultimately, what Retromania does is to force us — musicians, critics, listeners — to think more carefully about what is at stake in retro, to think twice before we endorse or applaud it, to remember that sometimes, in some contexts, retro is simply not good enough, that we can and sometimes should do better.'
''Diversions’ ambient, heavily processed sketches are teased from jungle’s ghostly, ghastly corners represents the first time that Gamble, whose musical epiphanies occurred during the the ’90s jungle scene, has revisited his extensive collections of mixes, tracks and tapes from an era that is, undoubtedly, significant to him. Dutch Tvashar Plumes is perhaps the more evasive, difficult release; a record that further breaks with Gamble’s methodology of computer music and sees him constructing his own take on the music of the club, albeit with the emphasis on the corroded, drug-fucked memory that wafts around your head long ever you’ve got your coat.' - Louise Brailey
'Recently I was giving a lecture at the Krakow's Unsound festival about the end of personality in music: how lack of authorship, from interesting (from ballardian The Normal and such industry-jokes as Silicon Teens to anonymity of techno & house and then hauntology, Burial and so on) becomes today just a pose, just another element of reversed fashionable identikit. Characteristically, also in terms of sound, of things actually happening in the music, post-hauntology is rather uneventful and hollow, so alienated, so bleak (and so depoliticised). How strange, but also how apt, given this generation was born already to neoliberalism, from the beginning saturated in "there's no alternative"...' - Agata Pyzik
'Aaron Rose, Mandy Kahn and Brian Roettinger’s book 'Collage Culture' ... aims to raise questions about the current status of things. “Why has the 21st century become an era of collage, in which creative works are made by combining elements from the former century?” the authors ask, “Why have musicians, writers and designers fallen in love with the past, busying themselves with borrowing instead of creating their art from scratch?” Rose says that the book came out of disappointment at how artists were repeating previous generations’ work rather than striving to create something new – the replication of the past rather than its reinvention. “I have always thought that the job of youth was to put their elders out of business. Not out of disrespect, but out of a longing, a real human longing, to be better than the last generation. To push things to the next level. To commit patricide.” Rose considers, “Sometimes when I look at guys like Kanye West, I wonder what they’re thinking. Those guys just steal and steal.”
Reworking, however, isn’t the same as theft. A number of artists are looking backwards and absorbing the past to create a new visual future. Theorist/artist/ writer Svetlana Boym has come up with a concept that is having increasing resonance: “As you know, postmodernism is dead. In fact, each time the end of history was declared, as in 1989 or 2000, we witnessed the return of history with vengeance. We are living in the culture of rapid obsolescence of everything and a fast pace of forgetting of history that strikes back as a boomerang. To bring back Walter Benjamin’s distinction between the culture of information and the culture of experience, the culture of information does not always allow us to digest, inhabit and make meaning of the recent events. Many contemporary artists return to a slower pace of reflection and an alternative new media which I call off-modern.”' - Francesca Gavin
'Why we can't take our eyes off images of old buildings and decrepit interiors? ...
Pursuing and photographing the old is an addictive hobby. Dozens of blogs and online galleries share strategies for entry and showcase ever-bulging collections of moss-covered factory floors and lathe-exposed school buildings.
There's no shortage of theories as to just why these images ... fascinate us. They "offer an escape from excessive order," says Tim Edensor, a professor of geography at Manchester Metropolitan University who studies the appeal of urban ruins. "They're marginal spaces filled with old and obscure objects. You can see and feel things that you can't in the ordinary world.' - Joann Greco
'After seeing the work of photographer C.A. Mathew published on Spitalfields Life, Adam Tuck was inspired to revisit the locations of the pictures taken a century ago. Subtly blending his own photographs of Spitalfields 2012 with C.A.Mathew’s photographs of Spitalfields 1912, Adam has initiated an unlikely collaboration with a photographer of a century ago and created a new series of images of compelling resonance.
In these montages, people of today co-exist in the same space with people of the past, manifesting a sensation I have always felt in Spitalfields – that all of history is present here. Yet those of a hundred years ago knew they were being photographed and many are pictured looking at the camera, whereas passsersby in the present day are mostly self-absorbed. The effect is of those from the past wondering at a vision of the future, while those of our own day are entirely unaware of this ghostly audience.' - The Gentle Author
'... the new BFI DVD Fairy Tales: Early Colour Stencil Films from Pathé, ... [is] ... accompanied by newly commissioned scores from musicians from the music label Touch. With contributions from acclaimed Touch composers including Christian Fennesz, Philip Jeck and Hildur Guðnadóttir, the Fairy Tales scores are gleefully anachronistic in their approach, featuring all the electronic scrapes, drones and crackles associated with the imprint.
Made between 1901 and 1908, the films themselves were the product of a time of astonishing technical progress, seeing the invention of innovations such as radio, the light bulb, the escalator and the telephone. In place of a more historically authentic approach, the Touch scores, curated by label head Mike Harding, conduct a unique séance with this past, their cutting edge sonics reaching back across the decades to the time of, what Harding calls, “the taming of electricity”.
... two of the musicians involved in the project, Marcus Davidson and Pascal Wyse, explain their approaches.' - Samuel Wigley
'‘It started here.’ These terse words introduce the subject of Elizabeth Price’s new film triptych, titled The Woolworths Fire of 1979 (2012). As with her previous work, this history is a means of departure, an invitation to talk about something else; the fire is channeled via multiple voices and through many other histories. In its digital reanimation of past eras, I can imagine Price’s work might be called ‘hauntological’; however, if the term does her any justice at all (and I am not sure it does), hers is a hauntology mercifully stripped of the standard nostalgia, melancholia and ghosts.' - David Morris
Once upon a time, during the belle epoque in turn-of-the-century Paris, a short-lived film form called scenes de feeries, or fairy films, was becoming popular thanks to the Pathe Frerer company. In jewel-like colours the films, made to appeal to young and old alike, recreated the theatrical spectacles of the age with their fantastical settings, dancing girls, mythical beasts, supernatural beings and a plethora of stage tricks enhanced by the techniques of the new medium of film.
Presented here with original hand-colouring, each film is accompanied with a newly commissioned soundtrack by recording artists from the leading experimental music label Touch. Contributions from such acclaimed composers as Chris Watson, B.J. Nilsen, Hildur Gudnadottir and Fennesz combine with the beautiful images to create a unique and unforgettable experience.
'One internet music "sharing" trend largely unnoticed by the powers that sue was the niche explosion of obscure music download blogs, lasting roughly from 2004-2008. Using free filesharing services like Rapidshare and Mediafire, and setting up sites on Blogspot and similar providers, these internet hubs stayed hidden in the open by catering to more discerning kleptomaniac audiophiles. Their specialty: parceling out ripped recordings—many of them copyrighted—from the more collectible and unknown corners of music's oddball, anomalous past.' - Mark Allen
'The music I had been writing was recorded directly to a four-track cassette recorder. There were some piano recordings that I had made at my uncle and aunt’s house in Devon (where I had stayed prior to the traffic jam), along with other acoustic and electronic pieces. With the Shapwick framework in mind, I recorded much more material. Using everything from a song harp in a garden, to a modular analogue synthesizer, I set about creating textures that would place my own notion of Shapwick on some kind of map; to create a geographic narrative.
I carried forward the notion of recording on four-track cassette – a very immediate recording medium, where there is little chance to manipulate the sound after the fact. This way of working shaped the project further and the medium suggested textures by itself – I had been using very old second-hand cassette stock that had been recorded on by others; subsequently, fragments of recordings already on the tapes showed up at various points and took on their own new lives in the tapestry.' - Jon Brooks