Friday, July 12, 2013

the 0 and the 1

i realized tonight that hauntology is a near-total inverse of the whole idea of retrofuturism.

some things are hard to explain. some things you just feel. you arrive at a point by feeling your way, and then the thinking and linking up sets in. you weave a tapestry of your own as you go, and when you discover there is a word for the way these threads are composed it can be very important and quite inspiring. Beyond the idea of insipid genres, isms, and false parsing, hauntology is more akin to an art movement than a genre. boil it down even more and its a way of seeing. 

having said that, it is of course, something of a genre, inasmuch as alot of these bands are drawing on the same set of influences and touching upon the same themes in their music. considering it from that perspective, it is really fascinating to link retrofuturism and hauntology as being very gracefully opposite. in fact hauntology seems like a natural moodier outgrowth from the retrofuturism of the nineties.

retrofuturism embraces the past as it was imagining the future. hauntology, on the other hand, is firmly planted in the present, imagining the past. in fact its BEING in the present that creates that tension, that sepia-memory experience. that cannot be experienced in a retrofuturistic or even revisionist way. that distance creates that essential surreal tension that to me is the very basis of hauntology. the same distance in retrofuturism seems to create a sort of whimsical, debonair dressing-up, a wholesale worship of the goofily optimistic spirit of the Space Age. Hauntology is an almost queasy reexamination. Its remembering the spookiness of childhood, painting in a kind of Romantic spirit, but Romance painted with electricity and film dissolves and 70's television and bad dreams.

I have always loved the novel "The Virgin Suicides" and it quite cleanly expresses this idea of memory- the way it haunts you and how the way you examine it says something about who you are. there is a fetishistic nature to it- we invest in life by remembering it in a certain light. we invest places and things and people with our memories and we imprint importance on to stray objects, photographs, people. distance in time makes the heart grow fonder, and weirder.

its a reimagining, without revisionist trappings. revisionism makes me quite tired, really- i can't think of anything more horrible than trying to push it out garage '66 style anymore. there is so much lost in the translation, almost always- and a hamhanded grab for "what it was like" leaves so many colors out of the picture. and i probably wouldn't mind it so much if they didn't get it WRONG so much of the time. but that's just my secret snooty mod bitchery kicking into effect- too many nights at soul clubs watching the girls all dressed in what are really early 70's "New california" style frocks passed off as Quantism.

 i don't want to pretend i am in the past anymore.

 it looks better from HERE.

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