What is “Hauntology”?

 “Hauntology originated in France…. In Spectres of Marx (1993), where it first appeared, Jacques Derrida argued that Marxism would haunt Western society from beyond the grave. In the original French, “hauntology” sounds almost identical to “ontology”, a concept it haunts by replacing – in the words of Colin Davis – “the priority of being and presence with the figure of the ghost as that which is neither present, nor absent, neither dead nor alive”.  Mark Fisher

“Inverted Echos” pastel and paper (author, 2001)

In Ghosts of My Life, Fisher says that “What should haunt us is not the no longer of actually existing social democracy [for example], but the not yet of the futures that popular modernism trained us to expect but which never materialised. These spectres – the spectres of lost futures – reproach the formal nostalgia of the capitalist realist world.” They show us, despite everything, that we don’t have to live as we presently do: that there could have been and thus could still be another way of organising things. In Derridean parlance, they help make the present non-contemporaneous with itself.

Spectral photography

Medium of photography and the subject matter echoes “spectrality of photography And its capacity to create the effect of indefinite presence and blurred subjectivity…focusing on the relation between the uncanny setting … through the prism of disappearance.”  (Lorek-Jezinska & Wieckowska, 2017). 

“Glass Head in Ruins” (author, 2020)
Two directions in hauntology:
  1. that which is (in actuality is) no longer, but which is still effective as a virtuality (the traumatic ‘‘compulsion to repeat, ’’a structure that repeats, a fatal pattern). 
  2. that which (in actuality) has not yet happened, but which is already effective in the virtual (an attractor, an anticipation shaping current behavior).” 

(From What Is Hauntology? Mark Fisher)

Dead spaces: The museum of post humanism and revenge of the capital leaves the remains-the ghosts, the bones, the not-yet-dead memory or haunting of the once-human.

Also See Black Feminist Hauntology: which “provides a framework intent upon exorcizing Colonial Systems of Control (Saleh-Hanna, 2008) through which race, class, gender, and sexuality are constructed, conquered and enforced.”

Saleh-Hanna, 2008

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