A Ghostly Presence-Absence

Aaron John Gulyas, The Chaos Conundrum: Essays on UFOs, Ghosts & Other High Strangeness in Our Non-Rational & Atemporal World (Redstar Books, 2013): 13-14

From Chapter One, “Ghosts”:

Not ghosts in the paranormal, “haunted house” sense. Rather, ghosts and hauntings in the sense meant by Jacques Derrida. In his 1993 book Specters of Marx, he discussed the notion that Marxist ideas would haunt the world long afyer the philosophy’s “moment” had passed. Today, the term “hauntology” connotes a more general sense of atemporality — past and present overlapping in art, music, and architecture. A great example is the music of Belbury Poly, which sounds like nothing if not the lost soundtrack to every 1970s Doctor Who episode.

Writers and futurists like Warren Ellis and James Bridle, along with designers such as Russell Davies, have identified atemporality with the emerging digital culture in cities. On this point, writing on the Guardian website in June 2011, Andrew Gallix discussed the connection between hauntology, cities and the digital: “Smartphones, for instance, encourage us never to fully commit to the here and now, fostering a ghostly presence-absence.”

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