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Fundació Joan Miró
Fundació Joan Miró
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The Future of Nostalgia

Escrit el 02/11/13 per Lola Lasurt

 

Here two kinds of nostalgia are distinguished: the restorative and the reflective. Restorative nostalgia stresses nostos and attempts a transhistorical reconstruction of the lost home. Reflective nostalgia thrives in algia, the longing itself, and delays the homecoming –wistfully, ironically, desperately. Restorative nostalgia does not think of itself as nostalgia, but rather as truth and tradition. Reflective nostalgia dwells on the ambivalences of human longing and belonging and does not shy away from the contradictions of modernity. Restorative nostalgia protects the absolute truth, while reflective nostalgia calls it into doubt.

Restorative nostalgia is at the core of recent national and religious revivals. Reflective nostalgia does not follow a single plot but explores ways of inhabiting many places at one and imagining different time zones; it loves details, not symbols. At best, reflective nostalgia can present an ethical and creative challenge, not merely a pretext for midnight melancholias. This typology of nostalgia allows us to distinguish between national memory that is based on a single plot of national identity, and social memory, which consists of collective frameworks that mark but do not define the individual memory.

Cultural identity is based on a certain social poetics or ‘cultural intimacy’ that provides a glue in everyday life. This was described by anthropologist Michael Herzfeld as ‘embarrassment and rueful self recognition’ through various common frameworks of memory and even what might appear as stereotypes. Such identity involves everyday games of hide-and-seek that only ‘natives’ play, unwritten rules of behavior, jokes understood from half a word, a sense of complicity. State propaganda and official national memory is built on this cultural intimacy, but there is a discrepancy and tension between the two. It is very important to distinguish between political nationalism and cultural intimacy, which, after all, is based on common social context, not on national or ethnic homogeneity. Restorative nostalgia knows two main narrative plots –the restoration of origins and conspiracy theory, characteristic of the most extreme cases of contemporary nationalism fed on right-wing popular culture.

Nostalgia is an ache of temporal distance and displacement. Restorative nostalgia takes care of both of these symptoms. Distance is compensated by intimate experience and the availability of a desired object. Displacement is cured by a return home, preferably a collective one. Never mind if it is not your home; by the time you reach it, you will have already forgotten the difference. What drives restorative nostalgia is not the sentiment of distance and longing but rather the anxiety about who draw attention to historical incongruities between past and present and thus question the wholeness and continuity of the restored tradition.

If restorative nostalgia ends up reconstructing emblems and rituals of home and homeland in an attempt to conquer and spatialize time, reflective nostalgia cherishes shattered fragments of memory and temporalizes space. Restorative nostalgia takes itself dead seriously. Reflective nostalgia, on the other hand, can be ironic and humorous. It reveals that longing and critical thinking are not opposed to one another, as effective memories do not absolve one from compassion, judgment or critical reflection.

Fragments de The Future of Nostalgia de Svetlana Boym

 

 

Bert Ghysels subjectant el monument a Francesc Ferrer i Guàrdia just abans de dur a terme la seva reproducció. Aquest monument existeix a Brusel.les des de 1911 a iniciativa d’un moviment internacional de seguidors del projecte pedagògic de l’Escola Moderna. La seva copia es va incorporar dins del projecte de l’Anella Olímpica a Montjuïc l’any 1990.

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