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Analogue Nostalgia and the Aesthetics of Digital Remediation

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Abstract

Based on a brief analysis of a scene from the contemporary TV series Californication, Dominik Schrey discusses ‘analogue nostalgia’, or the longing for what is assumed to be lost in the ongoing process of digitisation, which in turn accounts for the widespread romanticising and fetishising of analogue media by the contemporary media culture. Specifically, Schrey examines why aspects once considered a disadvantage of or problem with analogue media are now enthusiastically celebrated. He draws upon Jonathan Sterne's questioning of the ‘metaphysics of recording’ and the ‘double logic of remediation’ as put forward by J. D. Bolter and Richard Grusin to uncover the causes of this retrospective revaluation of analogue media's drawbacks and various noises.
1
Analogue Nostalgia and the
Aesthetics of Digital Remediation
Dominik Schrey
Obsolescence and retro-cultures
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 yester-
day’s appraised new gadgets into today’s decrepit devices and tomor-
row’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 corre-
lating 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.
Based on a brief overview of this culture of (un)dead media, I will
discuss one of the most recent manifestations of this general trend of
27
28 Analogue Nostalgias
nostalgia: the longing for what is assumed to be lost in the continuing
process of digitisation that accounts for contemporary media culture’s
widespread romanticising and fetishising of analogue media. Symp-
toms of this ‘analogue nostalgia’ in its broadest sense can be found in
every area of culture and society. For example, in 2012, the Academy
for Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded the most Oscars to The
Artist (Michel Hazanavicius, 2011) and Hugo (Martin Scorsese, 2011).
Both of these films celebrate not only the artistic qualities of early
cinema but also the celluloid filmstrip as its material basis, and what
David Bordwell calls the ‘Steampunk flavor’ (2012, p. 7) of analogue
film projection. Similar trends can be observed in the context of avant-
garde art. Many of the most successful contemporary installation artists
display a deep affection for outdated analogue media, and ‘today, no
exhibition is complete without some form of bulky, obsolete technol-
ogy’, as Claire Bishop writes in her broadly discussed article ‘The Digital
Divide’ (2012, p. 436). In general, these retrospective celebrations of the
analogue range from defiant denunciations of digital production tools
(as practised most famously by artists like Tacita Dean) to the fetishised
commodification of the analogue object (like the ubiquity of the ana-
logue audio cassette as an icon on t-shirts, tote-bags and smartphone
covers). Most pivotal for this context, however, are those works that
quote certain characteristics typically associated with analogue inscrip-
tion within digital media in a more or less self-reflexive fashion. In 2000,
Laura Marks described this digital remediation of analogue aesthetics as
‘analog nostalgia’, although today the term is applied to a broader range
of phenomena.
This chapter will be less interested in the technical differences
between ‘the analogue’ and ‘the digital’ than in the affective attributes
of these respective fields. Specifically, I will examine why aspects
that were once considered as disadvantages or problems of analogue
media are now appreciated enthusiastically. To investigate what causes
this retrospective revaluation of analogue media’s malfunctions and
the specific noises they create, I will draw upon Sterne’s question-
ing of the ‘metaphysics of recording’ (2006) and the ‘double logic of
remediation’ as put forward by J. D. Bolter and Richard Grusin (2000).
Based on a brief analysis of a scene from the contemporary TV series
Californication (Showtime, 2007–2012), I will argue in conclusion that
the phenomenon of ‘analog nostalgia’ (in Marks’s sense of the term)
embodies a return to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries’ fascina-
tion with ruins and its fragmentary aesthetics, which eventually led to
the construction of artificial ruins.
Dominik Schrey 29
The mediality of nostalgia
Media can serve as a means of virtually accessing the past, and are thus
an important resource for cultural memory. Consequently, they often
establish the precondition for a nostalgic perspective on things past (and
present). This nostalgia can be the content or style of media represen-
tation, and, beyond that, media themselves can become an object of
nostalgia. In this case, the sentiment can be directed towards their spe-
cific medial constitution, their materiality, the aesthetics resulting from
these factors, or all these combined: ‘Our cultural memories are shaped
not just by the production qualities of an era [ ...] but by subtle prop-
erties of the recording media themselves’, as Reynolds (2011, p. 331)
notes. This process, in turn, can then be reflected by media again, which
is why nostalgia for outdated media technologies or their respective aes-
thetics can be regarded as a special case of self-reference in the media
(Böhn, 2007).
Of course, the general phenomenon of nostalgia for outdated media is
anything but new. According to Svetlana Boym, ‘outbreaks of nostalgia
often follow revolutions’ (2001, p. xvi), which seems to be true not only
in the context of politics she is referring to, but also in relation to media-
historical periods of transition. In fact, nostalgia for seemingly obsolete
modes of representation is a way of theorising changes in media with
rich tradition and a surprisingly constant rhetoric. From the critique
of writing in Plato’s Phaedrus to the fears associated with the intro-
duction of the printing press to the defensive reactions towards those
new technologies of the nineteenth century that are now commonly
referred to as ‘analogue media’ and the lamenting of the ‘phantom
world of television’ (Anders, 1956), every media technological inno-
vation can be, and has been, told as a nostalgic narrative of loss and
decline (Serres, 2001). Evidently, the common denominator of these
nostalgic narratives of media change is the fact that they assess the
value of the new by the standards of the old, as Umberto Eco (1994)
noted. While after almost 50 years Eco’s analysis is still valid in many
respects, it is important to stress the correlation between the flaws of
apocalyptic media criticism he describes and the fact that new media
always define themselves ‘in relationship to earlier technologies of rep-
resentation’, as Bolter and Grusin assert (2000, p. 28). In their take
on media history, ‘[w]hat is new about new media comes from the
particular ways in which they refashion older media and the ways in
which older media refashion themselves to answer the challenges of new
media’ (p. 15).
30 Analogue Nostalgias
The metaphysics of recording
This is not the place to delve into the complex conceptual histories
of the terms ‘analogue’ and ‘digital’. However, it seems important to
emphasise two of the most important prerequisites for the phenomenon
of analogue nostalgia. First, a semantic vagueness characterises the dis-
tinction between analogue and digital; the common media-historical
approach makes this distinction ‘into a matter of new and old’ (Rosen,
2001, p. 303), while Western societies have developed a ‘wider cultural
situation where vintage is considered better than the new’ (Parikka,
2012, p. 3). Second, in order to understand media transition ‘we must
resist notions of media purity’ and static definitions, as David Thorburn
and Henry Jenkins (2004, p. 11) rightly point out. Yet, such pragmatic
perspectives still seem scarce. Although often reduced to a simplis-
tic dichotomy of mutually exclusive concepts, both terms, analogue
and digital, have quite different implications and meanings in dif-
fering contexts. It is not only in their vernacular use that several
overlapping semantic fields blur a precise understanding. The count-
less media-theoretical articles and books that have been written about
the consequences of digitisation and the differences between analogue
and digital representation in the last decades have fuelled the polysemy
inherent in the terms and their distinction rather than offering clarifica-
tion (Baudrillard, 2009). Film theorists of the 1990s and early 2000s, too,
often described digitisation as a process of deprivation and disembodi-
ment, a fundamental threat to film and photography as photochemical
media (Sobchack, 1994). Based on idiosyncratic metaphors, like Roland
Barthes’s assertion that a ‘sort of umbilical cord links the body of the
photographed thing to my gaze’ (2010, p. 81), the supposed continu-
ous nature of analogue inscription and, especially, the direct connection
between the representation and that which is represented were consid-
ered to be film’s ‘medium specificity’ and were perceived as the very basis
upon which film studies was built (Doane, 2007). In many accounts, the
vaguely defined category of the analogue that gained contour mostly in
contrast to its digital other was mistakenly identified completely with
the indexical, as Tom Gunning (2007) and others have pointed out in
recent years.
Most of the arguments put forward in this debate within film theory
(and, to a certain degree, in media studies) had already been discussed
in the context of audio recording and its question of ‘fidelity’ (Milner,
2010), yet these critical discourses have never intersected in a meaning-
ful way. The forced displacement of analogue vinyl records and audio
Dominik Schrey 31
cassettes by the digital compact disc throughout the 1980s was one of
the first moments when the scope of imminent media technological
changes became evident to a broad public, creating an instant sense of
nostalgia for the supplanted recording media. Many of the claims that
the digital lacked something essential stem from this historical situa-
tion. As early as 1983, only a year after the official market introduction
of the CD, an article entitled ‘Digital Discontent’ by David Lander was
published in Rolling Stone magazine, stating: ‘Maybe there’s something
in music that numbers and lasers can’t translate’ (1983, p. 88, cited in
Chivers Yochim and Biddinger, 2008, p. 187).1
The concern behind this thought is obviously an epistemological one.
In his trenchant article ‘The Death and Life of Digital Audio’ Sterne
criticises this ‘metaphysics of recording’, specifically the idea that ‘medi-
ation is something that can be measured in terms of its distance from
life’ (Sterne, 2006, p. 338). According to Sterne, this notion originates
in the age-old belief that a recording captures a certain amount of life
and ‘that as a recording traverses an ever larger number of technological
steps, that quantity of life decreases, essentially moving it (and perhaps
the listener) toward death’ (p. 338). In their early days, those media now
cherished as analogue were subject to the same criticism, as exemplified
by Henri Bergson’s Creative Evolution. Here, Bergson maintains that film,
or ‘cinematographic illusion’, can never really capture the continuity of
movement, as movement itself is always that which happens between
the still images. Thus, in Bergson’s perspective, movement essentially
eludes recording, as it always ‘slips through the interval’ (1944, p. 334).
Sterne (2006) demonstrates that the same metaphysical argument is
generally made regarding the discontinuity of digital inscription. Such
arguments claim that the separate samples processed in binary code are
merely ‘simulations’ of what they represent, hence missing the ‘essence’,
the ‘soul’, the ‘authenticity’ or the ‘aura’ of the actual recorded sound.
Sterne pleads for a re-evaluation of this question of ‘life’ in a recording
as a ‘social question, not an ontological or metaphysical one’ (p. 339).
Moreover, he proves that some analogue media, like the magnetic tape,
are ‘just as discontinuous as the 0s and 1s in digital storage’ (p. 340f).
Bolter and Grusin address the same desire for authenticity as part of
a complex and seemingly contradictory double logic by assuming a
discourse-analytical perspective. For them, one of the driving forces of
media history is the desire for immediacy or the ‘transparent presenta-
tion of the real’ (2000, p. 21). This desire finds expression in media’s
attempt to erase all indicators of mediation2and present their repre-
sentations as ‘life itself’ (or, at least, as a direct window onto it). At the
32 Analogue Nostalgias
same time, though, there is another tendency working in the opposite
direction. The logic of hypermediacy enjoys the opacity of represen-
tation and highlights or even multiplies the signs of mediation. These
two cultural logics of immediacy and hypermediacy do not only coexist;
they are mutually dependent. Approached from a social or psychologi-
cal perspective, it becomes evident that both logics share an ‘appeal to
authenticity of experience’ (p. 71) that is socially constructed. In con-
sequence, even the ‘excess of media’ (p. 53) can become an authentic
experience; hypermediacy can thus become a strategy to achieve imme-
diacy. This seemingly paradoxical relationship can be illustrated with
a famous quotation from British radio pioneer John Peel: ‘Somebody
was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t
have any surface noise. I said, “Listen, mate, life has surface noise”
(Chassanoff, 2012). In this perspective, the specific signs of media-
tion that seem to distract from the immediacy of the recorded sound
counter-intuitively create the authentic experience in the first place.
This reversal of the common logic of recording is characteristic of
analogue nostalgia. In this context, Thomas Levin notes:
In the age of digital recording and playback, the sound of error has
changed significantly [ ...]: The moment of the scratch is no longer
the signal of malfunction but is instead the almost nostalgic trace
of a bygone era of mechanical reproducibility, one can say that it
has become auratic, and as such it suddenly becomes available for
aesthetic practices of all sorts.
(1999, p. 162)
These aesthetic practices, however, can be remediated and appropriated
in digital media to simulate or mimic this notion of an authentic or
‘auratic’ experience, as I intend to illustrate with the help of a scene
from the recent TV series Californication in which the hitherto described
discourses are neatly interwoven.
An analogue guy in a digital world
In an early episode of the series, the protagonist, troubled novelist and
playboy Hank Moody, is shopping for groceries when he meets a woman
who remains nameless throughout the episode and is only addressed as
‘surfer girl’ in the DVD’s liner notes. As is typical of the series, they end
up in Moody’s apartment after a short and rather trivial conversation,
sitting on the floor and smoking marijuana while listening to the writer’s
Dominik Schrey 33
collection of old vinyl records. In this situation, the following dialogue
unfolds:
Surfer Girl: ‘I fucking love vinyl.’
Hank Moody: ‘Yeah, it just sounds better. It’s warmer, right? It’s just
human.’
Surfer Girl: ‘You’re just an analog guy in a digital world, aren’t you?’
This highly clichéd scene encapsulates the basic concept of
Californication. The series’ appeal is based on the conflict between the
‘old/authentic’ and the ‘new/superficial’, situating its protagonist as an
anachronistic ‘last of his kind’ character. Most of Hank Moody’s key
characteristics could be described as symptoms of a rather serious adap-
tive disorder, yet throughout the series he is depicted as irresistibly
charming and as a stubborn and nostalgic romantic. Not only does he
prefer his music to be played from vinyl records, but he also writes his
books on an old typewriter instead of a computer. Of course, this affec-
tion for almost obsolescent media technology mirrors his equally obses-
sive clinging to outdated concepts and values like romantic love and
artistic authenticity. He is tormented by the superficiality of Los Angeles
and its entertainment industry, which turned his highbrow novel into
a silly ‘rom-com’, and he is homesick for an idealised New York that
apparently exists only in the past tense of fond memories, thus seem-
ing ineffably remote. Hank Moody is the prime example of what Mark
Desrosiers once called the ‘R. Crumb Effect’: ‘when modernity gets
you down, you can put yourself on the cutting edge by fetishizing
ancient styles and technologies, and your antithetical influence will start
making its mark on popular tastes’ (2002).
To underline its nostalgia narrative, Californication relies heavily on
the aesthetics of analogue film, which becomes particularly evident in
the opening credits of the series. In a little less than a minute, the viewer
is presented with the whole range of analogue artefacts (Flückiger, 2008,
pp. 334–356), or typical flaws of decaying film stock. In the credit
scene, the image looks dirty and gritty, laden with scratches and vis-
ible splices. A tattered grunge frame with rounded corners limits the
picture as it would in an old 8 mm home movie. The film’s grain is
heavily visible, and, in some of the shots, the emulsion seems to be
on the verge of dissolution. The perforation of the filmstrip, as well
as the black intervals between frames, is repeatedly made visible. Addi-
tionally, numerous flash frames and lens flares emphasise the analogue
nature of the footage. At first glance, the shots seem to represent Hank
34 Analogue Nostalgias
Moody’s memories of ‘better’ times, shot in a home video style to signify
their ‘pastness’ (see also Chapter 2 in this volume). The shots are obvi-
ously set in LA, though, and the same style is repeated in the frequent
interludes that serve the narrative purpose of connecting discontinuous
scenes.
Surprisingly, Californication is shot completely with digital cameras;
only the pilot was filmed in 35 mm, but this first episode did not yet
feature the opening credit scene (Caranicas, 2011). All the described ana-
logue artefacts were thus added digitally in the post-production process,
proving Lev Manovich’s assertion that the classic film look acquired ‘a
truly fetishist status’ (1996, p. 58) in digital cinema. In fact, there are
vendors like CineGrain.com who sell footage of raw analogue glitches
for personal or professional use in collections ranging from $300 to
$3000, advertising their products with phrases like the following: ‘A film
collection worn by time and too many projector changes. Here’s the
sought after looks for the messed up and scratched up, the tattered and
dishevelled. Broken has never looked so beautiful.’
Analogue nostalgia and the aesthetics of virtual ruins
The term ‘analog nostalgia’ was originally coined to address aesthetic
practices exactly like these. It appears for the first time in a chapter
of Marks’s book (2002); seven years later it reappears in Rombes’s Cin-
ema in the Digital Age (2009), though without an explicit reference to
Marks. For Marks, analogue nostalgia expresses a ‘desire for indexicality’
and ‘a retrospective fondness for the “problems” of decay and genera-
tional loss that analog video posed’ (p. 152). Thus, in her perspective,
the phenomenon is not about the refusal of digital technologies, but
exclusively about the digital remediation of analogue aesthetics within
the digital. To put it in terms of communication theory, analogue nostal-
gia is directed towards the noise, not the signal. In the broadest sense,
it operates as a strategy of re-enchanting an object through aesthetic
de-familiarisation as it is characterised by deliberate imperfection:
In the high fidelity medium of digital video, where each generation
can be as imperviously perfect as the one before, artists are importing
images of electronic dropout and decay, ‘TV snow’ and the random
colours of unrecorded tape, in a sort of longing for analog physical-
ity. Interestingly, analog nostalgia seems especially prevalent among
works by students who started learning video production when it was
fully digital. (p. 152f)
Dominik Schrey 35
Rombes does not explicitly link his only sketchily defined concept of
analogue nostalgia to indexicality, but for him, too, there is ‘a tendency
in digital media [ ...] to reassert imperfection, flaws, an aura of human
mistakes to counterbalance the logic of perfection that pervades the dig-
ital’ (2009, p. 2). Sometimes, Rombes’s text itself verges on a polemical
and nostalgic manifesto, for example when he concludes his book with
these sentences: ‘In the end, it is the mistakes, the errors that we assert
in the face of the code that keeps it from consuming us with its purity.
Mistakes must be our answer to the machines of perfection that we our-
selves have built’ (2009, p. 156). In this regard, analogue nostalgia as an
aesthetic practice is the paradoxical attempt to preserve decay and plan
contingency.
‘What is lost in the move to the digital is the imprint of time, the visi-
ble degradation of the image’, writes Mary Anne Doane (2007, p. 117f), a
claim that is intentionally or unintentionally reminiscent of Benjamin’s
famous description of the aura withering in the age of technological
reproducibility (2008, p. 22). Assigning an almost organic quality to ana-
logue media, David N. Rodowick notes that ‘the material basis of film is
a chemically encoded process of entropy’ (2007, p. 20). From this per-
spective, analogue media do not merely contain a certain amount of life,
as discussed in the context of the ‘metaphysics of recording’; they even
share certain essential qualities with it. In fact, analogue media age, and
they show distinct signs of decay the older they get; each playing of a
vinyl record or a celluloid film expedites its self-liquidation. This pro-
cess leads to the traces of usage that typically appear exactly at those
moments which were often replayed or rewound. This fact might be of
great importance for a deeper understanding of analogue nostalgia.
In an article on cinephilia, Robnik writes that analogue ‘rental videos
confront you with traces, ruined images, left behind by someone else’s
fascination by a moment’ (2005, p. 59). For him, the analogue’s mal-
functions constitute ‘textual ruins’ and are thus more than just indica-
tors of age, as they can also be understood as traces of appreciation or
pleasure.3When these traces of use are digitally simulated, we abolish
the uncanny fact that in organic life – as well as in analogue media –
the process of aging irretrievably leads to death or complete dysfunc-
tion, respectively. Analogue nostalgia simulates a process of aging that
has not happened yet, and never will happen (at least, not in the form
that is simulated). This condition is analogous to the artificial ruins of
the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, as it involves the artificial,
or, rather, virtual, ruins of the digital age. However, these ruins are no
longer ‘signifiers of absence’, as Böhme (1989) once defined the lure of
36 Analogue Nostalgias
ancient ruins. On the contrary, the purpose of this digitally simulated
analogue decay seems to be the signification of presence: as it simulates
exactly the life or ‘soul’ that the digital was always accused of lacking.
Notes
1. Certainly not by mere coincidence, the same year also saw the release of
Herbie Hancock’s Rockit, the first mainstream music title to feature scratch-
ing as an artistic practice. Speaking with Rosalind Krauss (1999), one could
call this the ‘redemptive role’ of the threat of obsolescence that leads to an
artistic reinvention of the medium and the ways in which it can be deployed.
2. In this context, it should be noted that a similar claim can be found in Walter
Benjamin’s famous Artwork essay and its description of the ‘vision of imme-
diate reality’ as ‘the Blue Flower in the land of technology’ (2008, p. 35). The
‘Blue Flower’ as a pivotal symbol of German Romanticism is the idealisation
of that which cannot be obtained, something that is always already lost and
exists only in longing desire.
3. The best illustration for this assumption is Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 film
Death Proof, where he playfully suggests that the climactic moments of a lap-
dance scene might have been cut out of the film by the projectionist for his
own collection, leaving the actual viewers of the film with a ‘textual ruin’
(Schrey, 2010, p. 189).
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Media and Nostalgia
Yearning for the Past, Present and Future
Edited by
Katharina Niemeyer
The French Press Institute/CARISM, Pantheon-Assas University, Paris 2, France
Introduction, selection and editorial matter © Katharina Niemeyer 2014
Individual chapters © Respective authors 2014
Cover photograph © Marlène Dorgny (textile and graphic designer)
All rights reserved. No reproduction, copy or transmission of this
publication may be made without written permission.
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work in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
First published 2014 by
PALGRAVE MACMILLAN
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Softcover reprint of the hardcover 1st edition 2014 978-1-137-37587-2
ISBN 978-1-349-47750-0 ISBN 978-1-137-37588-9 (eBook)
DOI 10.1057/9781137375889
Contents
List of Figures vii
Acknowledgements viii
Notes on Contributors ix
Introduction: Media and Nostalgia 1
Katharina Niemeyer
Part I Analogue Nostalgias
1 Analogue Nostalgia and the Aesthetics of
Digital Remediation 27
Dominik Schrey
2 Homesick for Aged Home Movies: Why Do We Shoot
Contemporary Family Videos in Old-Fashioned Ways? 39
Giuseppina Sapio
3 The Instant Past: Nostalgia and Digital Retro Photography 51
Gil Bartholeyns
4 Retromania: Crisis of the Progressive Ideal and
Pop Music Spectrality 70
Maël Guesdon and Philippe Le Guern
Part II Exploited Nostalgias
5 Retrotyping and the Marketing of Nostalgia 83
Michael Pickering and Emily Keightley
6 Anti-nostalgia in Citroën’s Advertising Campaign 95
Emmanuelle Fantin
7 Networks as Media for Nostalgia in an
Organisational Context 105
Thibaut Bardon, Emmanuel Josserand and Florence Villesèche
8 Media and the Closure of the Memory Boom 118
Andrew Hoskins
v
vi Contents
Part III Screened Nostalgias
9 Nostalgia Is Not What It Used to Be: Serial Nostalgia and
Nostalgic Television Series 129
Katharina Niemeyer and Daniela Wentz
10 AMC’s Mad Men and the Politics of Nostalgia 139
David Pierson
11 The Television Channel ARTE as a Time Machine and
Matrix for European Identity 152
Aline Hartemann
12 Nostalgia, Tinted Memories and Cinematic
Historiography: On Otto Preminger’s
Bonjour Tristesse (1958) 160
Ute Holl
Part IV Creative Nostalgias
13 Creative Nostalgia for an Imagined Better Future: Il treno
del Sud by the Migrant Filmmaker Alvaro Bizzarri 179
Morena La Barba
14 Nostalgia and Postcolonial Utopia in Senghor’s Négritude 191
Nadia Yala Kisukidi
15 Impossible Nostalgia 203
Itzhak Goldberg
16 Journeys through the Past: Contempt, Nostalgia, Enigma 212
John Potts
Poetic Transfer of a (Serious) Situation 223
Marine Baudrillard
Index 229
... Physicality is said to improve the richness of user experiences by engaging all of the senses, promoting in-person social interactions, and inspiring a greater sense of perceived ownership than digital products (Atasoy & Morewedge, 2018). Analog products also stimulate nostalgia-positive emotions directed towards past moments (Bolin, 2016;Sedikides & Wildschut, 2018)-for displaced technologies and for the era in which they were dominant (Schrey, 2014). Popular culture has contributed to nostalgia through renewed attention to analog technologies and their eras (e.g., the prominent role of analog technologies in Netflix's Stranger Things; Dodd, 2021). ...
... AEs exhibit passion (Cardon et al., 2009) rooted in emotional connections to analog technologies and based, in part, on non-utilitarian, aesthetic evaluations of analog (cf. Nokelainen & Dedehayir, 2015;Schrey, 2014). For instance, the entrepreneurs operating Retrospekt, a US-based technology company focused on reintroducing analog products, state they are: "passionate people, addicted to the experience of vintage electronics. ...
Conference Paper
Technology entrepreneurship research has emphasized digital entrepreneurship and the pursuit of opportunities based on new technologies. However, a different type of entrepreneurship focused on opportunities involving the (re)adoption of analog technologies when digital alternatives are dominant—analog entrepreneurship—is a trend receiving intense practitioner interest but limited scholarly attention. To address the lack of theory explaining analog entrepreneurship and its mechanisms, we synthesize unconnected work from a variety of disciplines focused on the resurgence of displaced legacy technologies and explain how analog entrepreneurship is a unique and emergent phenomenon. We then build on the micro-foundations perspective to develop a theory of analog entrepreneurship. Our theory draws attention to a phenomenon made increasingly prevalent by the COVID-19 pandemic, enriches research at the intersection of entrepreneurship and technology, and suggests an agenda for studying how entrepreneurs revive analog technologies.
... 19-20). Yet, what is relevant entails the longing for the past, the search for a lost quality conceived as missing from the present (Schrey, 2014). Perhaps there is a connection between the challenges faced by contemporary societies, from socio-economic inequalities to the climate crisis, and the yearning for a previous era (Boym, 2001;Keightley & Pickering, 2012, p. 115). ...
... It is important to point out that media can also become an object of nostalgia. AsSchrey (2014) observes, in this case, "the sentiment can be directed towards their specific medial constitution, their materiality, the aesthetics resulting from these factors, or all these combined" (p. 29). ...
Thesis
In this thesis, I analyse how young audiences engage with nostalgic media texts. In recent years, from remakes or reboots to media texts set in previous decades, nostalgia has become a key ingredient of recent media production. Hence, I address two specific research questions: 1) how do young audiences interpret the past represented in nostalgic media texts; and 2) how do the national context and social identities of young audiences mediate their engagement with nostalgic media texts? For this, I conducted a media consumption habits survey, 13 focus group discussions, and 35 paired interviews in one private and one public secondary education school in Costa Rica. My intention is to explore the reception of nostalgic media texts in a nation of the Global South in which the past has recently generated political and social tensions. Thus, I first argue that these young audiences interpret the past represented in nostalgic media texts through an aestheticisation of the past and by employing a particular nostalgic social imaginary. Following textual cues and national discourses, these young people idealise the styles of the past but exhibit a critical awareness in terms of some social tensions of previous decades. Then, I argue that nostalgia is a structure of feeling which emerges from an unsatisfying present. By exploring the social identities of the participants, I discuss how nostalgia is differently articulated depending on the social position of these young people. I identify how the students from the private school experience an aesthetic nostalgia, based on the romanticisation of the styles of the past but characterised by an optimistic appraisal of the future, and how the students from the public school experience a material nostalgia, an idealisation of the past derived from daily experiences of economic deprivation and the expectation of a precarious future.
... In the context of this study, vinyl records are framed as triggers of nostalgia for a seemingly superior and simpler past (Shuker 2010, 66;Reynolds 2011, 74;Katz 2015). The appeal of vinyl is also explained by researchers of analogue nostalgia (Marks 2002, 152) and encompasses longing for the features of analogue media, including signs of age or wear and tear that indicate usage or signal what the most popular page, track, or moment was (Schrey 2014). In contrast to digital music, which shows no obvious signs of the passage of time (Boym 2001, 347), the idiosyncrasies; for instance, the "scratch and crackle noises" (Bennett and Rogers 2016), of a specific vinyl record can directly connect its owner to past times, harking back to the very moment the record was produced (Bartmanski and Woodward 2015;Bolin 2016). ...
Article
Full-text available
In the age of music streaming, the physicality of vinyl has never been so appealing. While studies have focused on the medium itself and the record store as a static site of consumption, this article explores lost vinyl consumption practices that traverse time and space via consumers’ nostalgic recollections. In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 active consumers of vinyl who are members of the UK indie pop music scene using their chosen album artwork as props to stimulate discussion. The findings from the thematic data analysis reveal a trajectory of practices centered on the purchase of records and the effort of acquiring and appreciating vinyl over time. This article contributes new insights into materiality and consumption by foregrounding the role of nostalgia and temporality in shaping consumers’ long-term relationship with legacy technological objects and determining how consumption practices are re-contextualized in times of personal and cultural discontinuities.
... The concept of analog nostalgia has been attributed to Laura Marks and was launched around 2000. In the essay "Analogue Nostalgia and the Aesthetics of Remediation" from 2014, Dominik Schrey parallels the phenomenon with the ruin cult and fragment aesthetics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Schrey 2014; see also Marks 2002). 8 In a prolongation of Marks, Schrey claims that analog nostalgia is partly that digital technology is used to emphasize the analog, and partly that it is the "noise" rather than the "signal" that is noticed: ...
Book
Full-text available
This Open Access book explores the concept of digital epistemology. In this context, the digital will not be understood as merely something that is linked to specific tools and objects, but rather as different modes of thought. For example, the digital within the humanities is not just databases and big data, topic modelling and speculative visualizations; nor are the objects limited to computer games, other electronic works, or to literature and art that explicitly relate to computerization or other digital aspects. In what way do digital tools and expressions in the 1960s differ to the ubiquitous systems of our time? What kind of artistic effects does this generate? Is the present theoretical fascination for materiality an effect or a reaction to a digitization? Above all: how can early modern forms such as the cabinets of curiosity, emblem books and the archival principle of pertinence contribute to the analyses of contemporary digital forms?
... The concept of analog nostalgia has been attributed to Laura Marks and was launched around 2000. In the essay "Analogue Nostalgia and the Aesthetics of Remediation" from 2014, Dominik Schrey parallels the phenomenon with the ruin cult and fragment aesthetics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Schrey 2014; see also Marks 2002). 8 In a prolongation of Marks, Schrey claims that analog nostalgia is partly that digital technology is used to emphasize the analog, and partly that it is the "noise" rather than the "signal" that is noticed: ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter explores the concept of digital epistemology as a mode of thought. The digital is approached as a “lens” (Lindhé, Digital Humanities Quarterly, 7, nr 1. http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/7/1/000161/000161.html. Accessed Apr 2020 (2013)), focused on the relation between cultural history, literary texts and digital discourse. Examining examples from different literary texts, from the 1960s to the 2000s, this chapter establishes a media archaeological juxtaposition between digital culture and early modern modes of thought such as the Kunstkammer, the emblem, the fragment, and also the archival principle of pertinence. The chapter argues that digital epistemology possesses a dual function: enhancing the reading of art and literature in the light of digital culture, and inviting a reconsideration—and even restoration—of the impact of early modern aesthetics.
... The concept of analog nostalgia has been attributed to Laura Marks and was launched around 2000. In the essay "Analogue Nostalgia and the Aesthetics of Remediation" from 2014, Dominik Schrey parallels the phenomenon with the ruin cult and fragment aesthetics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (Schrey 2014; see also Marks 2002). 8 In a prolongation of Marks, Schrey claims that analog nostalgia is partly that digital technology is used to emphasize the analog, and partly that it is the "noise" rather than the "signal" that is noticed: ...
Chapter
Full-text available
The connections between our own digital age and early modern modes of thought bear resemblance to Marshall McLuhan’s method of juxtaposing the age of television with Renaissance culture. By studying early modern modes of thought, we can understand our own technological times better. But also: By critically reflecting upon contemporary technological culture, we will gain new insights into early modern aesthetics and rhetoric, and the epistemological/ontological discourses embracing them. This is a media archaeological approach, where the digital is not primarily seen as a set of gadgets, machines or electronic networks, but rather as modes of thought. While pointing out some important differences between McLuhan’s approach and media archaeology, the concept of digital epistemology also states some striking similarities—treating media as a lens, or an interface, for observing culture, history and society.
Chapter
The fashion industry has spread through the media, via multiple fields, in order to strengthen its links to its consumers and to the public. Digital media is rich in content and able to transform fashion brands’ image in both a symbolic and pragmatic way. Digital communication and narratives are no longer conceived as a promotional strategy but as a part of the fashion industry’s requalification process. The development of multimodal digital apps and platforms bestows a new perspective of designing ways of living upon the industry, through mediation and coverage. Powerful brands and groups promote creativity as being part and parcel of the media industry, wherein fashion becomes a leisure-form based on plural phantasmagoria. This chapter points out how luxury fashion brands produce leisure mediation by occupying popular and high culture through digital narratives: video games created for apps (Gucci App), literature and dance podcasts (Chanel), and YouTube channels retracing the making of a collection, a show’s or an advertising campaign’s process (Christian Dior’s YouTube). This chapter’s issue reckons with the way mediation contributes to the industry’s requalification through three steps: the first step is about giving access to entertaining experiences related to fashion, its creativity, and its interconnection to culture; the second step is related to a global narrative apparatus which offers fashion brands hyper and multimodal visibility; the third step allows constant contact with the industry by creating leisure content which builds social links with the public and consumers.
Article
Full-text available
This article reflects a four-year artistic research process between us, choreographers Sabrina Huth and Ilana Reynolds. In the frame of our artistic research project Imagined Choreographies we circulate around questions of how to encounter a body that is physically absent. What are the conditions and modalities of such a being-with? And what might be its implications for the way we build and shape relationships nowadays? By presenting three different artistic manifestations in the field of dance and choreography, the article articulates the creative strategies and artistic research methods we have developed to address these questions; such as alternative space-time structures and material traces as intermediaries to the absent other. The methodology behind our research strongly focuses on the »act« within our practice, the embodied knowledge produced from those actions, and the documentation of those actions. For example: setting up shared performance events without coming together at the same time and place, developing extensive written reflections/observations and documentation towards the working process and performative setups. As artistic practitioners positioning ourselves in dance and choreography, our research aims to build creative potential for the mind and body to explore layers of imagination, the fiction of another person, and potentially new forms of togetherness. Through this work, we believe to offer new perspectives on discourses around »bodily closeness« within not only the artistic realm but also the social sciences.
Chapter
Digital technology is playing a significant role in media design which is now increasingly rich and fast. Multiple channels, a wide range of interactive activities are provided to support new communications. Nostalgia which refers to the yearning for the old and the slow, seems to be an opposite side of current mainstream technology design. However, in this paper, we propose that nostalgia has unique power and hidden potential in digital mediated design. We present here a nostalgia-based design methodology for subtle emotional connection, followed by two in-the-field design cases. We would like to dig deeper into the meaning of nostalgia design and open discussions on how factors, such as distance, content-less, slow media, that seem to be negative for emotional communication in fact increase intimacy and contribute to emotional bonding.KeywordsNostalgia designEastern aestheticMediated communicationSlow mediaLDR communicationEmotional design
Article
Stranger Things, uma das séries mais assistidas na Netflix, se destaca a partir de sua recriação da década de 1980, repleta de referências nostálgicas: seja à filmes, músicas, moda, produtos ou eventos históricos. Já WandaVision da Disney+ foi durante sua exibição a série mais assistida dentre todos os canais de streaming. A série, que faz parte do universo Marvel, passa pelos diferentes períodos estéticos das sitcoms da segunda metade do século XX. Sendo ambos seriados carros chefes de suas respectivas plataformas de streaming, o presente artigo procura explorar a dicotomia, os desdobramentos e os mecanismos que fazem com que Stranger Things e WandaVision ocupem um lugar híbrido. Analisaremos como tais séries romantizam o passado emulando estéticas de décadas anteriores, desenvolvem uma profunda tecnostalgia analógica e acabam por influenciar em um comportamento de espectatorialidade de suas audiências que remete à de séries pré-streaming. Faremos tais aprofundamentos, sempre colocando em consideração que esses produtos audiovisuais são parte integral de serviços digitais que representam a obsolescência desses elementos e tecnologias analógicas. Mais do que simplesmente contraditório, tal dualidade parece ser instrumental em um momento em que a saturação do espectador com velocidade tecnológica e da hegemonia do digital fica cada vez mais evidente.
Book
This cutting-edge text offers an introduction to the emerging field of media archaeology and analyses the innovative theoretical and artistic methodology used to excavate current media through its past. Written with a steampunk attitude, What is Media Archaeology? examines the theoretical challenges of studying digital culture and memory and opens up the sedimented layers of contemporary media culture. The author contextualizes media archaeology in relation to other key media studies debates including software studies, German media theory, imaginary media research, new materialism and digital humanities. What is Media Archaeology? advances an innovative theoretical position while also presenting an engaging and accessible overview for students of media, film and cultural studies. It will be essential reading for anyone interested in the interdisciplinary ties between art, technology and media. Reviews 'Jussi Parikka offers a lucid, concise, and highly readable account of a new and exciting field - media archaeology. He demonstrates that contemporary media forms are rooted to the past by multiple threads - untangling them helps us understand the media frenzy that currently surrounds us.' Erkki Huhtamo, University of California Los Angeles 'A fabulous map of media archaeology that, as its subject compels, produces its territory anew.' Matthew Fuller, Goldsmiths 'The most comprehensive coverage to date of this fascinating area of study. Parikka's book offers an excellent overview of connections between the material and social aspects of media technology. He provides a thorough review of the diverse and sometimes contrasting theoretical foundations and provides a host of concrete examples of media-archaeological practice that serve to bridge the gap between heady theoretical trajectories and the concerns of practicing artists, users and other readers who take their technology seriously.' Paul DeMarinis, Stanford University