The Skin of Nostalgia: A Reflection on the Artifice of Postcards, Structuralist Filmmaking, and Home Movies.
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Widespread culture are infamously sentimental, sometimes trite, and often mundane. Feelings of nostalgia are often as benign as they are malevolent: a balm for the troubled soul, a poisonous dependence on the old ways, a reprieve from the drab pallor of day-to-day life, and most commonly a harmless escape to a time when things seemed better. I will argue that nostalgia is more than the passive preservation and restoration of the past; nostalgia, is a (positive) re-possession of the past through the continuous rehearsal of the familiar – the past is essentially structured by the present, with how and what is remembered, and how and what is forgotten. The picture postcard and the amateur film are examples of a certain kind of 20th century aesthetic toward "exoticism" and "authenticism," the retrieval of the peripheral, and the redemption of the ephemeral. Nostalgia is characteristically ambivalent. It is the classical and often more personal version of a wistful remembrance of by-gone days has given way to a post-modern version of rapidly consumable nostalgias. This essay, however is concerned with the more the personal version of nostalgia, and is a reflection on my artistic practice as method for interrogating the senses of longing and loss, which infuse the present.