Thursday, November 27, 2014

empty Space

"His new picture is his biggest: biggest event, biggest spectacle, biggest pastiche, biggest disappointment. It’s a colossal science-fiction adventure avowedly in the high visionary-futurist style of Kubrick’s 2001, but sugared up with touches of M Night Shyamalan. Nolan takes on the idealism and yearning from 2001, but leaves behind the subversion, the disquiet and Kubrick’s real interest in imagining a post-human future. What interests Nolan more is looping back to a sentimentally reinforced present....
"... [The character] Cooper is furious at the world’s dreary earthbound dullness, and that his kids’ school teaches that the Apollo moon missions were a hoax designed to bankrupt the Soviets. He is rightly disgusted at this nonsense: I would have liked to have heard a more explicit speech attacking it, and incidentally making it clear that space exploration was not what did for the Soviet economy..... His crew....  get the regulation white suits, Nixon-era tech, long-sleep hibernation routines, flickery video messages from home and standard-issue talking robot called Tars, who is quirky but obedient – basically Hal2D2. ...

"....But all the rest is mannerism and starburst portentousness, underscored by Hans Zimmer’s score that toys playfully with Straussian themes but relies on heavy, wheezingly religiose, organ-type chords.
"The appearance of Interstellar is a moment to reflect that Kubrickian sci-fi, like Loachian social-realism of the same 60s period, was once rooted in the real world: social-realist films could change the law, and sci-fi reflected and even inspired a world in which the moon really was about to be conquered, and everyone assumed that manned space exploration would continue onwards at the same rate. Today, this is a lost futurism. What remains is style, and Nolan has got plenty of that. He gives us more of his signature universe-manipulations, in which the ground or sea will turn up 90 degrees, like a surreal cliff-face: huge, dreamlike and wrong. It’s exhilarating. But Interstellar’s deep space turns out to be shallower than we expected."

retroquotes # 2283928

retro-quotes: a series of germane remarks, by others, plucked from all over the place, and from all over the time

"Imagine a great hall of fetishes where whatever you felt like fucking or being fucked by, however often your tastes might change, no matter what hardware or harnesses were required, you could open the gates and have at it on a comfy mattress at any time of day. That’s what the internet has become for music fans. Plus bleacher seats for a cheering section" - Steve Albini's vision of the music-lover's paradise that is now

The rest of Albini's sunny side up view of the post-Internet music culture is so far from my own perspective it is disorienting....  but then he's not interested in large formations or Events, he's all about micro-scenes and local communities

 I have doubts that DIY-ing it all yourself (not just the music, but the production process, the design, the promotion,  etc) rather than having it done by seasoned professionals with the machinery in place and year upon years experience (ie. record companies) is really that liberating for musicians, who might be great at the creative aspect but lousy at the putting-what-you've-created-across function.... it's a hugely increased work-load and stress-load... offset by the possiblity of an increased profit margin.... but an increased profit margin on not-a-lot might be no better than a smaller share of quite-a-bit-more.  Certainly for an author, DIY-ing is not a good option, unless perhaps you're achieved such superfame (through the old Major Publisher system, of course) that you have a large and loyal constituency / market. But even then you'd have to have employees, or hire the services of experienced hands... in effect reconstituting something rather like a publisher.

retroquotes #203947264628438389

retro-quotes: a series of germane remarks, by others, plucked from all over the place, and from all over the time 

What may emerge as the most important insight of the twenty-first century is that man was not designed to live at the speed of light. Without the countervailing balance of natural and physical laws, the new video-related media will make man implode upon himself. As he sits in the informational control room, whether at home or at work, receiving data at enormous speeds — imagistic, sound, or tactile — from all areas of the world, the results could be dangerously inflating and schizophrenic. His body will remain in one place but his mind will float out into the electronic void, being everywhere at once in the data bank. Discarnate man is as weightless as an astronaut but can move much faster. He loses his sense of private identity because electronic perceptions are not related to place. Caught up in the hybrid energy released by video technologies, he will be presented with a chimerical “reality” that involves all his senses at a distended pitch, a condition as addictive as any known drug. The mind, as figure, sinks back into ground and drifts somewhere between dream and fantasy. Dreams have some connection to the real world because they have a frame of actual time and place (usually in real time); fantasy has no such commitment.

— Marshall McLuhan, The Global Village, page 97 (via vagabondbohemia)

Monday, November 24, 2014

chatting about the H-word

An extract from a conversation  about Hauntology I had with  Richard J. Lockley Hobson, independent researcher into all things that are H-related.

Below, a taster for his taster for a book he's currently writing on H-ology

SR "The one thing that came through more clearly when doing the chapter in Retromania was the extent to which my idea of Hauntology-as-music-genre, and my affection for it, is based around nationality. And I make this opposition between nationality and nationalism. Nationalism is political and it’s an ideology of national greatness or exceptionality. Nationality is pre-political I think – it’s the things I share with all other Britons including so many I have nothing in common with politically or in terms of chosen allegiances (musical, artistic, etc). Nationality in that sense is the pre-chosen, the given rather than what you consciously seek out or align yourself with... the realm of customs, everyday life, accents, gestures, rituals, routines, habits, common sense, food etc... the common inheritance of phrase and fable, idiom, and also, the arbitrary stylistic and design quirks of the typography used on everyday articles, the look of shops and public institutions, etc.

"I was just in the UK last week and being an expatriate now I notice this stuff that I would not have noticed when I lived there and it was all I knew. Also I just learned to drive so I’m paying more attention, but you know, things like road signs – where my mum lives in west Hertfordshire, signs like “weak bridges” or “traffic calming area” (for a zone with bumps in the road to stop drivers going too fast and running over little kids, presumably!). It’s in that kind of thing that the soul of a nation resides....

"A lot of Hauntology taps into this kind of thing, and largely the elements of the nation-soul or lifeworld that are fading away. Although whenever I go back to England I am quite amazed by how unchanged it is, indistinguishable, in large part, from the 1970s or 80s Britain that I remember. Old people still look the same. The main differences between then and now seems to be mobile phones and coffee"