Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Give up already! It’s so 2006.

At risk once again of showing my own lack of understanding up.

The main thing that’s still bugging me about HNTLGY if my below summation is in anyway accurate is the sheer difficulty of doing such a brilliant and vital set of concerns justice sonically. This is I guess why I have a problem with the Hauntology canon that’s being touted at the moment. I don’t see why for example Hauntological works, or rather works that are being claimed as representative by those keen to push the Hauntological agenda are Hauntological. I mean, if the pitting of the artifice of the studio against the presumption of authenticity and prescence is a key point in Hauntology wouldn’t this exclude any purely electronic music at all from entering the canon, even if it might seem appropriately spooky, post-Rave and elegiac a la Burial? And why, other than the lack of said obtrusive use of studio technology aren’t, for example, the Manic Street Preachers Hauntological, especially round the time of “Everything must go” and “A design for life.” There was certainly plenty of sloganeering and a series of passing bells being rung for the working class at that point (and very pointedly so in the videos). In other words I’m wondering whether Hauntology hasn’t used a variety of currently emerging bands/styles etc as a way of defining itself up to this point and whether the actual Hauntological work is yet to come. It represents a fearsome challenge sonically I would have thought, seeming clearly much easier to express in mixed media formats, especially those which incorporated spoken word/text (“ London Under London” seems largely the right kind of vehicle.) I think it’s interesting that the debate has encouraged the rather smart Acid Nouveaux to attempt a project but again (rather as in the other examples (Owen’s Hauntological Pop) the aesthetic seems to be toward an ambient/ illbient/ elegaic feel.) Can’t there be an ecstatic, liberating element to Hauntology? It seems odd given that the repressed elements struggling to assert themselves in the face of the post-Industrial Real that’s locked down on us ( Utopionism, collectivity) should be restored to us though the enervation and drift of the Caretaker, et al. Rather than Hauntological pop I’m wondering when or if there will ever be a Hauntology we can dance to? Or even (given my own set of preferences) headbang to? Can’t there be an ecstatic, liberatory element to Hauntology? Can’t it be joyful? Must it be X old fashioned music viewed through a grey drizzle of scratchy surface sound, or vitiated, doom-heavy Dancehall? Must it be mournful, must it be “spooky”? After all, it’s not about ghosts right? It’s about opening up a breathing space within Po-mo. It’s a lunge for freedom, it's a call to arms. Shouldn’t the music quicken the pulse a little more, as much as the theory does, at least?


Dejan said...

Carl, this post is only mildly confrontational. I would like you to rewrite the post and make it more offensive. Here's a tip:

Anything can be labelled hauntological if you just use that word as an adjective. For example, I just described Yugoslavia as a hauntological entity, because it's there and not there at the same time; I also added the French expression ''par excellance'' so that it sounds more avant-garde. ''
Immediately below I write about the hauntological presence in the film BIRTH. Because, well, the dead husband in the film is present and yet unpresent. I made sure to add that he comes from the ''In Between space'', because that sounds more mystical and ghostly.

Just like in post-modernism, anything can become post-modern if you simply use the prefix ''post'' in front of the word you are trying to post-modernize. Once I even doubled the post and I got to ''post-post modernism''. (I'm expecting a shower of invitations to cultural theory conferences, where I can dress the oxymoron in even more dubious language, while all I really want is to pig out at the Swedish table and chase women in the conference break)

You have to understand that in this Age of Aesthetics, philosophy, too, is a fashion label.

I am not entirely pleased, but you will get an hommage nevertheless because I liked your literature.

carl said...

dammit, i may have unwittingly revealed my faith in the project! Nonetheless i believe the new direction being taken by Hauntological Products Inc should redress the balance!