This post represents the one-hundred & first for The Hauntological Society. Or there·a·bouts. It seems like more.
This being the case, I thought I'd take the opportunity to expand a little on how THS works. Then, I'm going to do some thinking out loud, regarding Hauntology's love/hate relationship with the reoccurring theme of ghosts.
THS is about the business of gathering together information on that which can be considered Hauntological. That which can be considered Hauntological, and therefore suitable for inclusion, is arrived at via a some-what idiosyncratic check list. This ultimately becomes a value judgement, for which I make no apology.
"our aim is to curate the sum of hauntology's parts, from the available information, so as to give you a better understanding, over time. if you think we have referenced you without credit/or link, please let us know"
The majority of posts feature text from existing articles and, wherever possible, images created by THS, or from our own archive (magazines, photographs, promotional stills, books, etc). The idea behind using existing articles, is to recontextualise, through inclusion, within the context of Hauntology. This is a very important aspect of THS blog. Occasionally additional text is added, say, by way of an introduction. As time goes by, or not, as the case may be, more and more material is added to the THS archive. As well as recontextualised sources, THS regularly features exclusive posts, with information supplied by their respected subjects. The audio selections, used on many of the posts, are legally obtained and offered for your consideration under Section 107 of the Copyright Act, 1976.
It's no surprise that it feels like there should be more than 101 posts, thus far, as there in fact have been. However, over time, post have been re-examined, redefined and moved over to our sister site R/J/L-H. It is also worth noting that existing posts on THS are regularly revisited, revamped and updated, so check back on your favourite posts from time to time, to see what's new.
If you have any questions, ideas for submissions, etc, please use the link on the right, towards the bottom of the page.
Every now and again, on a semi-regular basis, a prevalent misunderstanding that Hauntology is all about ghosts prevails. My Father has even asked "what’s this sudden interest in ghosts?". In the general scheme of things, this misunderstanding is of no great importance. But, the problem here is, I find myself responding to these kinds of comments/questions by immediately stating that Hauntology has nothing to do with ghosts. Then, in the next breath, correcting myself by saying "well, it's not as simple as that". I’m not sure we’ll get to the bottom of this, but lets give it some consideration…
I recently submitted a definition for Hauntology to Collins Dictionary; Social movement concerning the idea/s of the past and the future, haunting, bleeding into, the present. Often filtered through themes such as Childhood and the Phenomenology of Landscape. At the time of writing, I’m still waiting to hear back.
Derrida clearly takes inspiration from this concept of haunting, amongst other things, when arriving at the term Hauntology "The spectral rumour now resonates, it invades everything: the spirit of the "sublime" and the spirit of "nostalgia" cross all borders" (Specters of Marx: The State of the Debt, the Work of Mourning & the New International).
Yes, I know, not the quote you were expecting, but this particular part of the text moves things on a little further, though aptly appears before the other oft used quote.
Derrida also makes reference to the ghost of Hamlet’s father: “Let us go in together, and still your fingers on your lips, I pray. The time is out of joint—O cursèd spite, that ever I was born to set it right! Nay, come, let's go together" (Hamlet Act 1, scene 5). These lines are spoken by Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, upon encountering the ghost of his father.
Now, we’re dealing with ideas here. Ideas that are hitching a ride on metaphors, so as to get to where they need to go. I have, In point of fact, very little interest in ghosts, from a supernatural perspective. I’ll go further; I’ve looked into it, and outside of Metaphysics, ghosts do not exist. And yet, obvious metaphors aside, ghosts, in a supernatural sense, have somehow made their way into Hauntology.
It is testament to Hauntology's 'it just is' value system, that we can talk of Hamlet’s Father’s ghost and include M. R. James in the Hauntological universe, yet state, when asked, that Hauntology has nothing to do with ghosts.
James’ supernatural ghosts are not metaphors, as such, but they do exist to teach us that we should mind our own business, and don’t poke our nose in, where we know we shouldn’t. Well, I suggest you ignore this warning and keep poking your nose in where it is most certainly wanted, so as to see us through another one hundred and one posts.
Further information here, here & here.
Impossible Project polaroids by Claire Lockley-Hobson, Ben Spear & R/J/L-H.