Tuesday, February 28, 2012

77 Hotels in Kota Kinabalu

(via Father Theo's Blog)

The new movie Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is so clearly an artifact of the present moment, even in its faithfulness to its Cold War period detail, that i call it a hauntological monument. We revel in the squalor of postwar Great Britain; the crudeness of the tactics of espionage in that era makes us more tinglingly aware of how far we have come in surveillance abilities now; and that paranoia echoes our present one in curious & not-always-ironic ways.

Matt's been there.

Badly reproduced photos as used in books of a certain era--between the exquisite engravings of the Victorians, & the better quality pictures that soon followed. A troubling interlude: & i imagine our crazy quilt of webpage presence to become something just as era-delimited, & as brief. Melodrama out of technological degradation. The glitch as hero.

A long new addition to the sometimes inconsequential, long running hauntological blogosphere. (More.) I like it that the Ghost Box label brings together Algernon Blackwood (e. g. not the superstar HPL but a "jiaya" or lesser avatar of him) and brutalist-modern architecture (to me: the paneláks on the perimeter of Prague).


Their citing of British films of the Sixties leads me directly to these-

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) --haunting as claustrophobia, or else: the ghost you don't believe in is the one that gets you

X the Unknown (1956) --which went directly into my subconscious as a child: dark shapes moving in the night, inexorably

Night of the Demon (1957) --a classic, of course; & a textbook example of how to handle the Epiphany of the Monstrous

Then there's Whitney's funeral. Having completely fictionalized her character, the service was capped by Tyler Perry (who knows how to please an audience) assuring everyone that Whitney was right this minute in Heaven. Her very public struggle with addiction sits like a gorilla on the very front row, & this circus of denial is only a sideshow to the greater circus of denial that comprises our civilization teetering on the brink, mesmerized by tiny screens.

The mutilated forms of star names as used in old scifi pulps (since immortalized in Star Trek, of course). --Find a way to refer to modern, significant stars by an altered but recognizable form of their names e.g. "Four Melbourne" for Gliese 667 Cc. Kepler-22b as "87.01 Cygnus"...

My longpoem Spaceship to Pluto has finished (which began here). Wandering inside a desert of assorted things-ending. Never quite getting there.

For some reason i'm thinking of Avram Davidson again. (A vintage paperback of The Island Under the Earth recently fell into my hands.) Davidson is haunted by Classical Literature to an extraordinary degree for a 20c author. But rather than just imitate them, he actually uses their thought processes & their tools, so if you read this for identifying allusions (which it invites) you risk missing out on his whole game.

Welcome to the Greenhouse. A haunting future, or rather, futures.

Let's not forget Miéville's Collapse essay. He's the real philosopher of all this. "...two iterations of the same problematic – that of crisis-blasted modernity showing its contradictory face, utterly new and traced with remnants, chaotic and nihilist and stained with human rebukes."

Four anagrams of "we made good ruins": a guided newsroom, a disowned morgue, a wooded resuming, a winged dormouse. (Kind of says it all.)

"Ghosts only appear when they have something to say..."

"All over America men were drifting like Sargasso weed in a vast dead sea of ruined industry." --Loren Eiseley, All the Strange Hours (1975)

(via UK Daily Mail 2-20-12)

"...the crying of humanity...."


Monday, February 20, 2012

why the globe

no one can tell me
at what moment it began
this sad story . . .

the endless winter
of my motherland

Mariko Kitakubo