Analogue Nostalgia and the Aesthetics of Digital Remediation
It has become a commonplace to describe the last decades as a period of unprecedented and ever-accelerating media technological transition and of increasingly mediated life environments. Our times have often been characterised as an era of planned obsolescence, turning yesterday’s appraised new gadgets into today’s decrepit devices and tomorrow’s waste. Their disposability may even be ‘one of the truly distinctive features of new media in our age’, according to Jonathan Sterne (2007, p. 18). Moreover, even media formats with a strong tradition like the book (as a material object) or cinema (as a specific ‘dispositif’) are now perceived to be threatened by obsolescence and seem to be outpaced by their increasingly ephemeral digital successors. Referring to these correlating processes, science fiction writer Bruce Sterling proclaimed in 1995 that we live in ‘the golden age of dead media’ (2008, p. 80). It also seems to be a golden age of nostalgia for these allegedly ‘dead media’ that, in fact, continue to haunt a popular culture obsessed with its own past (Guffey, 2006; Reynolds, 2011). Jussi Parikka argues that retro-cultures ’seem to be as natural a part of the digital-culture landscape as high-definition screen technology and super-fast broadband’ (2012, p. 3). This distinct sense of nostalgia that Western societies have developed has to be understood as an integral aspect of our culture of preserving and storing. As Hartmut Böhme notes, in everything that is preserved and remembered they emphasise that which is still lost and forgotten, and thus create a deliberate emptiness (2000, p. 25). With this in mind, it seems important to consider the ‘mediality’ of nostalgia itself.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Anders, G. (1956) “The Phantom World of TV. Dissent, 3, pp. 14–24.Google Scholar
- Barthes, R. (2010) Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography. Translated by Richard Howard. New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
- Baudrillard, J. (2009) Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? Translated by Chris Turner. London, New York: Seagull Books.Google Scholar
- Benjamin, W. (2008) ‘The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility’ (second version), in M. W.Jennings, B. Doherty and T. Y Levin (eds) The Work of Art in the Age of its Technological Reproducibility, and Other Writings on Media. Cambridge, MA; London: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, p. 19–55.Google Scholar
- Bergson, H. (1944) Creative Evolution. Translated by Arthur Mitchell. New York, NY: Modern Library.Google Scholar
- Bishop, C. (2012) ‘Digital Divide’. Artforum, September 2012, pp. 435–441.Google Scholar
- Böhme, H. (1989) ‘Die Ästhetik der Ruinen’, in D. Kamper and C. Wulf (eds) Der Schein des Schönen. Göttingen: Steidl, pp. 287–304.Google Scholar
- Böhme, H. (2000) ‘Der Wettstreit der Medien im Andenken der Toten’, in H. Belting and D. Kamper (eds) Der zweite Blick. Bildgeschichte und Bildreflexion. München: Fink, pp. 23–43.Google Scholar
- Böhn, A. (2007) ‘Nostalgia of the Media/in the Media’, in W. Nöth and N. Bishara (eds) Self-Reference in the Media. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter, pp. 143–153.Google Scholar
- Bolter, J. D. and Grusin, R. (2000) Remediation. Understanding New Media. Cambridge, MA, London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Bordwell, D. (2012) Pandora’s Digital Box. Film, Files, and the Future of Movies. Madison, WI: Irvington Way Institute Press.Google Scholar
- Boym, S. (2001) The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Caranicas, P. (2011) ‘“Californication” Leaves no Trail of Tape. Arri Alexa Allows Show to Shoot on Reusable Memory Cards’, http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118040091 (accessed 17 December 2012).
- Chassanoff, A. (2012) ‘Life has Surface Noise. (Further) Ruminations on the Record’, http://hastac.org/blogs/achass/2012/01/23/life-has-surface-noise-further-ruminations-record (accessed 24 June 2013).
- Desrosiers, M. (2002) ‘Maim that Tune. The Moldy Peaches and the Apotheosis of Lo-Fi’. http://www.popmatters.com/pm/column/desrosiers020306/ (accessed17 December 2012).
- Doane, M. A. (2007) “The Indexical and the Concept of Medium Specificity’. differences. A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 18(1), pp. 128–152.Google Scholar
- Eco, U. (1994) Apocalypse Postponed. Translated by Robert Lumley. Bloomington and London: BFI.Google Scholar
- Fluckiger, B. (2008) Visual Effects: Filmbilder aus dem Computer. Marburg: Schüren.Google Scholar
- Guffey, E. E. (2006) Retro: The Culture of Revival. London: Reaktion.Google Scholar
- Gunning, T. (2007) ‘Moving Away from the Index: Cinema and the Impression of Reality’, differences. A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, 18(1), pp. 29–52.Google Scholar
- Levin, T. Y. (1999) ‘Indexicality Concrète: The Aesthetic Politics of Christian Marclay’s Grammophonia’. Parkett, (56), pp. 162–169.Google Scholar
- Manovich, L. (1996) ‘The Paradoxes of Digital Photography’, in H. von Amelunxen, S. Iglhaut and F. Rotzer (eds) Photography After Photography. Memory and Representation in the Digital Age. Dresden: GB Arts, pp. 57–65.Google Scholar
- Marks, L. U. (2002) Touch. Sensuous Theory and Multisensory Media. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Milner, G. (2010) Perfecting Sound Forever. The Story of Recorded Music. London: Granta.Google Scholar
- Parikka, J. (2012) What Is Media Archaeology? Cambridge UK, Maiden, MA: Polity.Google Scholar
- Reynolds, S. (2011) Retromania. Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past. New York: Faber & Faber.Google Scholar
- Robnik, D. (2005) ‘Mass Memories of Movies. Cinephilia as Norm and Narrative in Blockbuster Culture’, in M. de Valck and M. Hagener (eds) Cinephilia. Movies, Love and Memory. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press (Film Culture in Transition), pp. 55–64.Google Scholar
- Rombes, N. (2009) Cinema in the Digital Age. London, New York: Wallflower Press.Google Scholar
- Rosen, P. (2001) Change Mummified. Cinema, Historicity, Theory. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
- Schrey, D. (2010) ‘Mediennostalgie und Cinephilie im Grindhouse-Doublefeature’, in A. Bohn and K. Moser (eds) Techniknostalgie und Retrotechnologie. Karlsruhe: KIT Scientific Publishing, pp. 183–195.Google Scholar
- Serres, M. (2001) ‘New Technologies’. Mousaion, 19(1), pp. 25–34.Google Scholar
- Sobchack, V. (1994) ‘The Scene of the Screen. Envisioning Cinematic and Electronic “Presence” ‘, in H. U. Gumbrecht and K. Ludwig Pfeiffer (eds) Materialities of Communication. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, pp. 83–106.Google Scholar
- Sterling, B. (2008) ‘The Life and Death of Media’, in P. D. Miller (ed.) Sound Unbound. Sampling Digital Music and Culture. Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, pp. 73–82.Google Scholar
- Sterne, J. (2007) ‘Out with the Trash. On the Future of New Media’, in C. R. Acland (ed.) Residual Media. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 16–31.Google Scholar
- Thorburn, D. and Jenkins, H. (2004) Rethinking Media Change. The Aesthetics of Transition. Cambridge, MA and London: MIT Press, pp. 1–18.Google Scholar