Saturday, 16 November 2013
The following thoughts first appeared on Warren Ellis' website, as part of Warren's Guest Informant segment, September 8th, 2011. This is an ever-so-slightly amended version:
Richard J. Lockley-Hobson of the Hauntological Society asked me to write something for them. I had to point out that I am not very clever, and in fact it would be a much better thing if he wrote something for you. So he did:
“I confess I do not believe in time. I like to fold my magic carpet, after use, in such a way as to superimpose one part of the pattern upon another. Let visitors trip. And the highest enjoyment of timelessness-in a landscape selected at random-is when I stand among rare butterflies and their food plants. This is ecstasy, and behind the ecstasy is something else, which is hard to explain. It is like a momentary vacuum into which rushes all that I love. A sense of oneness with sun and stone. A thrill of gratitude to whom it may concern-to the contrapuntal genius of human fate or to tender ghosts humoring a lucky mortal”.
You have just read a section from Vladimir Nabokov’s 1966 (revised) autobiography ‘Speak, Memory’. It touches on many of the themes that can be considered Hauntological. Hauntology, a word you’ve no doubt heard before, but as an ‘ology’ you feel it has yet to coalesce into something you can fully understand.
Lets start at a literal beginning… ”To haunt does not mean to be present, and it is necessary to introduce haunting into the very construction of a concept. Of every concept, beginning with the concepts of being and time. That is what we would be calling here a Hauntology. Ontology opposes it only in a movement of exorcism. Ontology is a conjuration”. This is a section from Jacques Derrida’s 1993 work, Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning & the New International, pg 202. This is the origin of the word, and the idea(s) behind the word.
Suffice to say, since its conception, the word, or term (and the idea(s) behind it), have taken on a life of their own. Although much maligned by almost every other deconstructionist philosopher, Derrida’s Hauntology, now filtered through a hundred other ideas, interlinked and contradictory, has taken root in many different fields.
Considered by some to be a kind of Backward Looking-Forward Thinking/Backward Thinking-Forward Looking philosophy, the term, is more often than not, applied to what could be referred to as unpopular culture; a mix ‘n’ match of analog electronics, suburban witchcraft, unsettling children’s TV, faded visions of the future and the great outdoors – amongst other things. This New Hauntology seems to have little or nothing to do with its namesake, and there appears to be much that can be considered Hauntological.
There will always be a question of interpretation, of application. This so-called zeitgeist is the spirit of all time; the past, and the future, converging in the present. Although it can sometimes seem that this New Hauntology is constantly being trivialised, there will always be a line that leads you back to Derrida, and back further still.
In it’s purest form, that which can be considered Hauntological has been with us for a long, long time. Long before Derrida. He has just given us a word. In a 2010 interview, author Alan Garner talks of “a sense of otherness, that goes right back”. Garner is of course the author of the 1973 children’s book ‘The Owl Service’. Itself a much referenced and key work, in Hauntology’s post-Derrida universe. “Yesterday, today, tomorrow – they don’t mean anything. I feel they’re here at the same time: waiting. How long have you felt this? I don’t know. Since yesterday? I don’t know. I don’t know what ‘yesterday’ was. And that’s what’s frightening you? Not just that, said Alison. All of me’s confused the same way. I keep wanting to laugh and cry. Sounds dead metaphysical to me, said Gwyn”.
I will refrain from discussing or listing further themes, key words, or phrases, prevalent in Hauntology, new and old, as I’m aware that you are probably still none-the-wiser. Instead I shall hand you over to our friends at The Hauntological Society. Their aim is to curate the sum of Hauntology’s parts, from the information available, so as to give you a better understanding, over time.
However, before I go – It is my considered opinion that Hauntology will eventually come together as a Social Science, that will explore this ‘otherness’ that makes us who we are. Individually, and as a group. As an ‘ology’, it will find its place.
Further information here, here & here.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
merge visible (original version)
"The traces of past experience are continually playing in upon our perceived world. Now, to get hold of that in the organism which answers to this stage of our conduct, to our remembering, to our intelligently responding to the present in terms of the past, we set up a parallelism between what is going on in the central nervous system and immediate experience. Our memory is dependent upon the condition of certain tracts in our head, and these conditions have to be picked out to get control of processes of that sort" – George Herbert Mead (1863–1931).
1st in a series of archival digital singles, culled from a larger herd of material recorded on DAT, cassette & reel to reel tape, between 1983 & 2012. Pieces are incomplete versions of incomplete pieces.
Edited & arranged, with additional instrumentation & digital adornments, between 2000 & 2013. Analog mastering, transfered to 24 bit Wav, by Optimum Mastering, 2013.
anticlockwise 2 (process music)
In 2013 t/e/u/ purchased a vintage Binatone portable reel to reel player, via eBay. Included was a 3" reel of tape, recorded onto which was a conversation between unidentified family members. Random selections of tape were edited and looped. These loops were then played thru delay, phaser and recorded into Ableton Live, where they were digitally edited.
Edited & arranged in 2013. Analog mastering, transferred to 24 bit Wav, by Optimum Mastering, 2013.
"Not even Lee Perry puts delay/reverb on everything!" Jon Tye – Lo Recordings.
Saturday, 12 October 2013
Saturday, 7 September 2013
Sunday, 30 June 2013
LONDON LORE is an exhibition that aims to give an insight into some of the many colourful, uncanny and sometimes ancient, events and customs, which take place in the city each year. Sited in the rooms of Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields, the Museum of British Folklore has collaborated with the artist Richard Sharples and sound artist Richard J. Lockley-Hobson, to produce a series of ‘Raree Boxes’ to tell their tales. Raree boxes were first recorded in the 15th century and were used by street performers as a form of entertainment. Having paid a small fee you could peer into a lens or hole in the box where a scene would be revealed, usually a newsworthy event of the day such as a battle or Royal event. The owner of the box would then give a narration while sometimes moving the scenery or closing or opening slits in the box to allow more or less light to enter.
LONDON LORE will invite visitors to explore the house and to discover each of the stories held within the boxes. Each will incorporate a variety of techniques to bring their stories to life: Hand cranked mechanisms, Victorian optical illusions and magic lantern effects are all employed to tell the tales. The magical transformations and miniature tableaus will celebrate a particular myth, ritual or custom that the city has given birth to, many of which are still in practice today.
Among others, visitors will be able to marvel at the comic madness of the annual “Clowns Service”, be horrified by the diabolical antics of “Spring Heeled Jack”, gaze in wonder at the sight of “The Queen’s Remembrancer” or discover Lady Hatton’s dreadful secret and what she was doing in “Bleeding Heart Yard”.
Richard Sharples is an artist based in London working in sculpture, installations and public art. His pieces are often site-specific and integrate sound and light to stunning effect. For more information please visit his website here.
Richard J. Lockley-Hobson has created the soundscapes for the exhibition. "the hauntological society is an information resource - for all things hauntological. est. Saturday, 1 January 2011. Our aim is to curate the sum of hauntology's parts, from the available information, so as to hopefully give you a better understanding, over time”. For more information please visit his website here.
The Museum of British Folklore.
The Museum of British Folklore Blog.
Pearly Kings & Queens:
Beating the Bounds:
Rat Queen & Toshers:
Bleeding Heart Lane:
Old Mother Shipton:
Spring Heeled Jack:
Cures & Curses:
Doggett's Coat & Badge Race:
Ceremony of the Knollys Rose:
Another Reconversion Blues (Theme from London Lore):