Monday, September 9, 2013

From "Future Interrupted: An Eternal & Meaningless Now"

A snippet from Jonathan McCalmont's column in the latest Interzone (248) (in which he talks about M. John Harrison, about decontextualising stuff as a sign of commodification, but also sometimes as a tactic of critique / resistance, and about imagining the future as often perhaps a historiographical practice masquerading as an extrapolative one).

"[...] To walk down a British high street is to drown in a thousand incongruous images: Shop windows are filled with suits designed to make office workers feel as though they are going to work in a contemporary TV producer’s idea of a 1960s advertising agency. Cafés staffed by men sporting the facial hair of Edwardian circus performers bring Ethiopian coffee to Filipino nurses in cups that were made in South Korea but inspired by a 1940s British fashion for ‘real’ China porcelain. Dead people write books, dead people release albums and every cinema is clogged with fifth-generation reinventions of intellectual properties made in different times for different people. Don’t like Captain Kirk and Superman returning to the 1980s to re-fight the same old villains? Don’t worry… give it enough time and someone will come along and reimagine Christopher Nolan’s adaptation of Frank Miller’s response to the campy 1960s TV adaptation of a 1930s comic book. The odd thing about the incoherent deluge of contemporary culture is not that it is filled with old ideas but that so many of these ideas appear to have been lifted directly from other times and places. The problem is not a surplus of old ideas but a lack of interest in the broader cultural stories that once made these objects meaningful. [...]"

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