'Many of the sources she works with are not considered art, not only due to the commerciality of their production, but also their short-lived and often disposable nature. “There’s something about things that were so important to so many people at one point in time and then were quickly forgotten or replaced or put in a landfill.”
“They’re ghosts. They’re things that once existed. They meant so much to everybody and then they disappeared. And then what? What happens when you find a ghost and you bring it into a work of music?”
It’s this intersection of the ethereal and the substantial that is the premise of many of Lizée’s compositions. These technological ghosts are imperfect and self-contained spectres flung out of time and space, drawing your attention to both the materiality and singularity of this other world. The re-contextualization of these technologies leads to what Lizée calls “musical hauntology.” Hauntology – a portmanteau of haunting and ontology – is a term coined by French philosopher Jacques Derrida to describe the disjunction caused by the materialization of a spectre from the past in the present moment. In a late-capitalist society, obsolete technology is the perfect phantasmal conduit.' - Kiersten Van Vliet
'Like many of you I'm sure, I have been dipping into the online Markhive - rereading favorite pieces and posts. Below are just a handful - well, a couple of handfuls - really an armful - of Fisher classics. Along with the fully-realised long-form work, there's a few more fragmentary things too - in some ways even more enjoyable and characteristic. Mark was in his element when pitching into the fray - arguing, agreeing (but always building on his interlocutor's point, pushing it further along). Some of his best insights and lines emerged out of the back-and-forth of these fractious spaces - Dissensus threads, the K-punk comments box. Jewels, exuberant with the sheer sport of thought, that are hard to disentangle from the discursive thicket of their moment. But in a way it was in these innumerable brief exchanges and interactions that Mark's mind flexed itself most fruitfully - and merrily.' - Simon Reynolds
'Accelerationism is a theoretical movement that seeks to mobilise reason and technological development as a strategy for moving beyond capitalism. The first wave of accelerationism took the effects of capitalism at their most pernicious and suggested that they have not gone far enough. More recent work has complicated this project and explored political, epistemic and aesthetic accelerations. The central push to accelerate, and therefore to manifestly alter time, has consequences in terms of how one understands temporality in education. This article outlines the development of accelerationism and examines whether this theoretical movement can aid critical analysis of the growing presence in education of commercial technology providers, new modes of data analytics, and the application of machine learning algorithms to analyse data. These developments provide a useful example in relation to which a critical question can be asked: is it possible to accelerate technological development in education separate from its capitalist development?' - Sam Sellar and David R Cole
'I wanted to get some words down about the book now just before it becomes available; it is, after all, the first book to fully attempt to understand what this strange genre of film and television actually is. In October 2015, I was lucky enough to be approached by Auteur Publishing with the offer of a book deal involving an analysis of the genre. The result is 'Folk Horror: Hours Dreadful and Things Strange,' named from a line of Macbeth which I feel surmises the genre beautifully (because of both its oddness and its essential link to various temporal slips and notions of the past). The book is heavily about landscape but also touches upon history, sociology and various other issues besides culture.' - Adam Scovell
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I don't normally intervene or comment on material I post on this site - however, without the work and ideas of Mark Fisher I would never have set out on the road that led to my fascination with hauntology and related ideas in contemporary culture. Furthermore, this site would not have existed without his inspirational ideas. This is a very sad loss. RIP Mark. - Sean Albiez
'Astrud comes from an experimental/folk background and might be familiar to some due to her association with such labels as Folklore Tapes and Night School. Her deep background in folk experimentalism and association with hauntological themes was transferred into her recent four tape releases. Whereas Astrud’s Folklore Tapes release drifted along the forgotten fringes of Devon folklore, this year’s output reminds the solemn corners of East London, which were extensively referenced in Luke J. Murray’s short essay accompanying the Cellophane L: Selected Dreams 2010 - 2013 (Volume 1) release. Yet what remains is the same psychogeographical urge to wander, embrace and reflect the environment - the traces of hidden British topographies that have been so extensively celebrated by Ghost Box, Folklore Tapes, Hacker Farm, Demdike Stare and others. Quite a large number of people involved with these entities have a background in techno/jungle music, hence a pattern of futuristic roots mixing with rediscovered folk treasures.'
From 2015 - 'Nostalgia is a self-conscious, bittersweet but predominantly positive and fundamentally social emotion. It arises from fond memories mixed with yearning about one's childhood, close relationships, or atypically positive events, and it entails a redemption trajectory. It is triggered by a variety of external stimuli or internal states, is prevalent, is universal, and is experienced across ages. Nostalgia serves a self-oriented function (by raising self-positivity and facilitating perceptions of a positive future), an existential function (by increasing perceptions of life as meaningful), and a sociality function (by increasing social connectedness, reinforcing socially oriented action tendencies, and promoting prosocial behavior). These functions are independent of the positive affect that nostalgia may incite. Also, nostalgia-elicited sociality often mediates the self-positivity and existential functions. In addition, nostalgia maintains psychological and physiological homeostasis along the following regulatory cycle: (i) Noxious stimuli, as general as avoidance motivation and as specific as self-threat (negative performance feedback), existential threat (meaninglessness, mortality awareness), social threat (loneliness, social exclusion), well-being threat (stress, boredom), or, perhaps surprisingly, physical coldness intensify felt nostalgia; (ii) in turn, nostalgia (measured or manipulated) alleviates the impact of threat by curtailing the influence of avoidance motivation on approach motivation, buttressing the self from threat, limiting defensive responding to meaninglessness, assuaging existential anxiety, repairing interpersonal isolation, diminishing the blow of stress, relieving boredom through meaning reestablishment, or producing the sensation of physical warmth. Nostalgia has a checkered history, but is now rehabilitated as an adaptive psychological resource.'
'In Never Built New York, authors Greg Goldin and Sam Lubell (foreword by Daniel Libeskind) describe with irony, and sometimes nostalgia, the most significant architectural and planning projects of the last century, projects that would have drastically changed the city—but never did.' - Guglielmo Mattioli
'The abundance of nostalgic culture in the 21st century is a peculiar phenomenon that will probably be the subject of future sociological analysis. In the post-war years of the 20th century, the world believed that the future would be another, better planet. The 21st century was itself an iconic signifier of that utopian dream – everything would be different in the new century. Now that we’ve actually gotten there, though, we find ourselves living in a future that has already been and gone. We live, not in the gleaming dream of the future, but in a world of austerity and radical uncertainty, an off-season resort with no guarantee of summer rejuvenation on the horizon.
It is thus unsurprising that the early 21st century should become haunted by the past, in the same way that the last century was haunted by the future. In music, how we imagined the future would be and the actual future we are living in have become intertwined. In cinema, the past has become a huge part of how we create alternative imaginative landscapes, in a way the future once was. In this sense, we can see nostalgia not simply as a throwback, but as a legitimate expression of how we experience the world today. Even a relatively straight exercise in nostalgia like Stranger Things exhibits greater creativity and originally than the nostalgia wave as it has afflicted commercial Hollywood film-making: memory as brand recognition and marketing, to be remade (endlessly) but never made anew.' - Andrew Linnane
From 2014 - 'In this article, I will examine the internet through the lens of consumption and waste studies. The internet will be conceived of as the place where the cultural waste of music – in the form of marginal artefacts and obsolete media (such as vinyl records, tapes, and ephemera) – can effectively be excavated, recirculated and re-mediated by means of systematic digitisation and uploading. The redemptive role of popular and spontaneous digital archives (such as the video platform YouTube or dedicated audio blogs) will be critically examined. Complementarily, I will underline the idea that the internet also encourages a paradoxical return of tangible artefacts, as the work of digital music collectors may prompt the actual reissue of previously lost music objects (a tendency that is exemplified in the UK by the work of British contemporary reissue record labels such as Trunk Records or Finders Keepers). The internet will be discussed as an ambiguous site of redemption, forming the basis for a nostalgic retro-consumption of music. As such, it will be conceived of as a site of memory and as a possible archive, though the ambiguity of such a term will be discussed. I will reflect upon the cultural meaning of digital archives that, as they are ceaselessly renewed, continue to erase themselves. Lastly, I will suggest that the forms of redemption that are enabled by the internet are strictly inseparable from the production of further layers of cultural waste. Departing from Straw's assertion that the internet ‘has strengthened the cultural weight of the past, increasing its intelligibility and accessibility’ (2007, 4), I will point out that the internet may accelerate the processes of cultural obsolescence and oblivion that it seeks to suspend.' - Elodie Amandine Roy
'Department of English at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń invites you to attend the international conference whose major theme “Haunted Cultures/ Haunting Cultures” explores the cultural significance of the figure of the spectre, spectrality, haunting and hauntology in their deconstructive and/or other more traditional contexts. Following Jacques Derrida’s argument that “[t]here is then some spirit. Spirits. And one must reckon with them. One cannot not have to, one must not not be able to reckon with them…” (Derrida, 2006, xx), we invite papers reflecting on the place of the spectral figure, spectral metaphors and conceptualisations in past and present cultures. In its deconstructive preoccupations, hauntology endeavours to account for the persistence of the unspeakable and unnameable in cultural practices and discourses. One of our aims is to encourage a debate on the relevance and legitimacy of these spectral presences and/or absences in the twenty first century technologically advanced cultures.'
From 2014 - 'The identity of these decadent spaces is thus subjected to the ghostly remembrance of a past that tends to be idealized, leading us to Jacques Derrida and his concept of Hauntology, presented in his book Specters of Marx, where he acutely proposed the Specter as a key concept to tackle many of the political, economical and cultural dilemmas that remain unsolved after the culmination of the neoliberal globalization. The paradoxical status of the specter, which is neither being nor non-being, portrays an ontological interzone beyond the abilities of the Imaginary and the Symbolic to describe the Real, and thus requires its own logic, a distinctive methodology for its deciphering. Haunthology emerges thereby as the science that deals with the particularities of the Specter, namely, the entity that cannot be fully present and therefore ontologised in customary ways: it has no being in itself but marks a relation to what is no longer and not yet. Open to all sort of metaphorical interpretations, the specter vaguely resonates with the uncanny and phantasmatic figures that inhabit Freud’s notion of the unconscious: its haunting non-presence may tacitly illustrate both silent traumatic events (banned from memory and its representational regime) and the possibility of latent, potentially emancipatory developments. The ghost is essentially problematic, for it exists in an ontological limbo where the trauma is non-living, but resists death and disappearance.' - Arquitectura Entrelineas
'We were saddened to hear yesterday’s news of Mark Fisher’s unexpected death. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Fisher’s work on the notion of “capitalist realism” and interventions to the political imaginary of neoliberalism were critical to our intellectual formation as a collective.' - Blind Field
'There are inevitable comparisons to be drawn between Departed Glories and the “hauntology” typified by Ghost Box Records, though they differ radically in aim and sound. Both pick and choose from certain histories to create a sort of über-country: a fictional space a thousand times more than the tangible places it’s based on. Jenssen’s “Eastern Europe” is an amorphous concept built on tragedy and longing that draws no distinctions between Polish songs or Ukrainian melodies or the Armenian woman gracing the album’s cover.' - Rebecca C. Brooks
'In his captivating new book, “The Revenge of Analog,” the reporter David Sax provides an insightful and entertaining account of this phenomenon, creating a powerful counternarrative to the techno-utopian belief that we would live in an ever-improving, all-digital world. Mr. Sax argues that analog isn’t going anywhere, but is experiencing a bracing revival that is not just a case of nostalgia or hipster street cred, but something more complex.' - Michiko Kakutani
From 2008 - 'Traditionally, nostalgia has been conceptualized as a medical disease and a psychiatric disorder. Instead, we argue that nostalgia is a predominantly positive, self-relevant, and social emotion serving key psychological functions. Nostalgic narratives reflect more positive than negative affect, feature the self as the protagonist, and are embedded in social context. Nostalgia is triggered by dysphoric states, such as negative mood and loneliness. Finally, nostalgia generates positive affect, increases self-esteem, fosters social connectedness, and alleviates existential threat.'
From 2011 - 'The East of Germany, the Bundesländer of the former GDR, is an important centre of Goth activity. The Goth scene is remarkably large in this part of Germany, and one of the most important yearly Goth festivals, the Wave-Gotik-Treffen, takes place in Leipzig. This article investigates the specific characteristics and internal dynamics of East German Goth subcultures after German reunification. Combining subcultural theory and Gothic criticism with Derrida's notions of spectrality and hauntology, the potentials of Gothic as a form of cultural criticism are explored in an investigation of the psycho-social wasteland of the undead GDR. It will be argued that post-Cold War unification has not only led to a new political order, but has also given rise to a new type of Gothicism, as East German Goth subculture is haunted by ‘spectres of Marx’ that provide a critical engagement with globalised capital and media. As a specifically German version of the worldwide Goth scene, moreover, it marks the local boundedness of globalised subcultures.' - Isabella van Elferen
'Vaporwave isn’t just a genre; it’s an approach and an attitude—not just to music, but to popular culture. Vaporwave is often identified with particular sounds and stylings—slowed arown hits and muzak from the ’80s and ’90s—yet what’s also essential to it is the highly self-conscious, critical stance it takes to its source material. It remodels and repackages it, adding implicit layers of social commentary.' - Bandcamp
This book explores the trend of retro and nostalgia within contemporary popular music culture.Using empirical evidence obtained from a case study of fans’ engagement with older music, the book argues that retro culture is the result of an inseparable mix of cultural and technological changes, namely, the rise of a new generation and cultural mood along with the encouragement of new technologies. Retro culture has become a hot topic in recent years but this is the first time the subject has been explored from an academic perspective and from the fans’ perspective. As such, this book promises to provide concrete answers about why retro culture dominates in contemporary society.
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