… Access to this momentous mix of myth, nature, history and sensation lies not in a utopian past, but in those traces that surround us.
Second post from Hollis Frampton (nostalgia), by Rachel Moore (2006):
… In (nostalgia) the profaned image, the burnt photograph spent by language that quivers in front of us, registers this fall precipitated by language. That this is the same language that Frampton now chooses to deploy but that also served as a weapon against the authority of the image accounts for the most devastating sense of ‘torsion’ in the film as well as the periodic allusions to fire, smoke and violence in his text.
[line break added] This torsion of language on images and images on words is completely caught up in that other torsion I spoke of earlier, the torsion of the past turning on the present while the present turns on the past.
… Underneath the many temporal layers of the film resides a formless, archaic past that technologies, from time to time, might partially reveal. Across the surface of these layers of time is the visceral present, the fire that engages us in the now. The ‘irreparable’ destruction these fires mete out also make us keenly aware of the present, ‘before our very eyes.’
… The problem of a proper, yet horribly compelling link to the past won’t go away, hence the urge to enlist nostalgia’s power but disinfect it for theoretical purity. The question becomes not what do we want from the past, but what do we want from nostalgia?
In making (nostalgia), Frampton described himself as an archaeologist, examining ‘leavings and middens … sifting for ostracising potsherds.’ The present encloses us in such leavings, in the form of ruins, images and various pneumonic traces in which a world of effaced relationships lies dormant.
[line break added] These relationships are, for each of us, by turns historical, political, autobiographical, archaic and aesthetic. Access to this momentous mix of myth, nature, history and sensation lies not in a utopian past, but in those traces that surround us. Thus ascends the urge to enliven that which lies dormant, to stir the ‘sentient springs’ that portend our awakening. Nostalgia answers such an urge.