One way to think of haunting is that of the body as capital (think of Charles Dickens and A Christmas Carol or Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein). And the revenge of the monster and the hatred of the creator toward that which it has created represents the dominant racist patriarchal capitalist system which despises the “surplus” human capital its system has created (i.e. slavery)
The imagined fear of revenge for which the oppressor must “strike first” and destroy the fear, the haunting. And likewise, the creature wreaks vengeance on his “master.” In this sense, capitalism and the spectre, the remains of the body in a posthuman world are created by an oppressive – systemic capital of the body.
Victor claims, “I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life…I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter” (Shelley, 57).
Revenge Capitalism (MaxHaiven, 2020)The surplus “human” as commodity is both alive and dead, in-between, and haunting in revenge capitalism is re-imagining a being-withness, “an ethics of relating to and showing responsibility towards the not quite living and the not quite dead …”
Monstrous capitalism: Memories of Frankenstein
Monsters are an apt metaphor for surplus human capital; the other-than-human, or sometimes post-human entities that haunt the borderland between our colonial worlds and what might be possible otherwise. Frankenstein’s monster, the disfigured wretch, as a symbol of the dehumanizing effects of the industrial revolution. “Between Frankenstein and his monster there is an ambivalent, dialectical relationship, the same as that which connects Capital with wage-labour.” (Moretti)
Biocapitalism in a time of plague
Museum of haunting invites the monstrous intersection between human capital in an age of artificial intelligence, revenge capitalism and this moment of COVID19 pandemic. “The body is a potential site of monstrosity for those who do not fit into the body politic” (Moretti). The Creature himself was constructed on surplus dead labor. Essential workers are also treated as “expendable workers” like replaceable moving parts.
Spectres of absent bodies
This surplus othering of human into spare parts, dead labor, or ghosts in the machine echo Derrida’s suggestion that “the ghost exists although we often do not see it”. Therein lies the haunting. In other words, the ghost is uncontrollable and ever-present. It has no concepts of space and time, but rather, appears whenever and wherever it may. In this sense, it is surely not dead, but rather, undead, immortal even. (Maccionni)
…. Haunting… is the relentless remembering and reminding that will not be appeased by settler society’s assurances of innocence and reconciliation… Haunting doesn’t hope to change people’s perceptions, nor does it hope for reconciliation. Haunting lies precisely in its refusal to stop. Alien (to settlers) and generative for (ghosts), this refusal to stop is its own form of resolving. For ghosts, the haunting is the resolving, it is not what needs to be resolved … Haunting is the cost of subjugation. It is the price paid for violence, for genocide … Erasure and defacement concoct ghosts; I don’t want to haunt you, but I will.”Max Haiven (2020)