Clairvoyant Android— MFA1 Seminar (Mark Owens via Yasmin Khan)

This project [began] with three figures from the popular imagination that have served as important philosophical and literary devices: spectres (or ghosts), zombies, and vampires. While distinguished by their own particular features (such as blood sucking or the rattling of chains), they each occupy a liminal or threshold space between two physical states: alive / dead, material / immaterial, visible / invisible, and so on. In turn, they also share a particular relation to time as revenants, or figures who return from the dead to inhabit the realm of the living. Spectres, zombies, and vampires have thus provided writers, artists, and thinkers with new ways of imagining and arguing for a more complex understanding of the relationship between “the past” and “the now” and the mobilization of unresolved historical energies in the present.

Most recently such investigations have been pursued under the term “hauntology.” First coined by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his book Specters of Marx (1993), hauntology is used to describe the way in which our experience of the present is always bound up with the past. Crucial for its relevance to graphic design, in Derrida’s formulation contemporary forms of haunting are specifically mediated phenomena, encapsulated by Derrida in the act of conjuration and the “displacement” of the “frontier” between the public and the private.

As much as they offer new ways of thinking about the political domain, Derrida’s notions of conjuration and hauntology thus offer a new understanding of contemporary media and the construction of the public sphere. Indeed, perhaps the central problem of the specter or ghost has always been a question of communication: how do you speak with the dead? - Mark Owens (?)

PROMPT: Visualize a mode/form of communication for a future society. You will begin by either taking a position with respect to Reynolds’ most recent ideas with regard to future-optimism and retro-futurism (ie you will adopt the position of either an earnest contemporary futurist or a retro-futurist). * For examples of Derrida’s concept of hauntology applied to contemporary cultural critique, see: The writings of Simon Reynolds (various articles, essays and Retromania) and Mark Fisher/k-punk (various blog posts, essays, Capitalist Realism).

OUTCOME: Motion graphic and iphone hologram.

See the 3 minute motion graphic here.

Motion Graphic and hologram

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