Andreas Böhn: Cultural Memory and Nostalgia: Media, Technology and the Arts

In the lecture I will concentrate on a field of nostalgia that is affected by these processes to a particularly high degree: the field of media technology. The point of departure is the observation that we are witnessing a process of increasing mediation of our everyday life environments while, at the same time, media artifacts of the past are accessible to us probably easier than to any generation before. It seems fair to describe the last decades as a period of accelerated media technological changes and, as a consequence thereof, as a period of shortened lifespans of the respective appliances. One of the results of these correlating processes is a nostalgia that is directed not only towards the contents of certain media texts, but also, or even to a greater degree, towards their specific medial constitution: their materiality, and the aesthetics resulting from these factors. Media can serve as a means of (virtually) accessing the past and are an important resource for memory. Thus, they often establish the precondition for a nostalgic perspective on things past (and present). Nostalgia can be the content of media representation and, beyond that, the media itself can become the object of nostalgia.

This process, in turn, can then be reflected by the media again, which is why nostalgia for (obsolescent forms of) media technology or
their respective aesthetics can be regarded as a special case of self-reference in the media. Surprisingly, the rich and interdisciplinary field of cultural memory studies has so far largely neglected this field of media nostalgia.

11.4. 2013 19.00
Dittrichova 9, Prague

The lecture is held in english


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