In his book Retromania, Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, Simon Reynolds shows how digital cultures have modified our relationship to time and have toppled it, turning the past into a new vision of the future and backing its reassuring nostalgia with creative imagination. The desire to reinvent and “remix” the past is a way of rediscovering and re-appropriating the collective imagination and cultural heritage currently at a risk of evaporating or dissolving in globalization and information overload. It is a form of positive resistance to the seemingly unstoppable acceleration of the world. This cult of a composite past, coupled with the compulsive collector or archivist spirit is seen in fashion, music, automobiles, iPhone apps, etc. Instagram or Hipstamatic for instance revive the analog era and recreate an old-fashioned photographic album experience. Therefore, the comeback of an updated version of 80’s post- modernism, whose influence remains strong, is not a coincidence. A reaction to the oil crises that had brought an end to the post-war boom and its modernist promises, it stemmed from disenchantment with the concept of progress itself. It was also an invitation to reactivate sequences from the past and to re-format them, as a way to live in the present moment, without fascination for the future, and to break the codes of the past to better recreate them. This philosophy acutely echoes today’s chaos and crisis.
1. EIGHTIES SPIRIT : The exhibition Postmodernism: Style and Subversion 1970-1990 at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, retraces the implications of this movement that arose in reaction to the 70’s crises, but had petered out at the turn of the century. The exhibition underlined this period’s renewed pertinence in the current context of confusion and uncontrollable acceleration. 2.THE ART OF THE REMAKE : In Dévote et des Bottes (Devout with boots) Louboutin’s FW 11-12 advertising campaign, photographer Peter Lippmann reinterprets elaborately staged masterpieces from the past and recreates a feeling of unity, uncommon in contemporary chaos. 3.TRIBUTE DESIGN :The furniture and accessories brand Habitat, founded in 1964, recently opened a vintage boutique in the heart of Saint Ouen flea market in Paris (managed by an antique dealer) dedicated to their most iconic products.
EVOLUTION OF VALUES : from a composite past to a retro-future
Globalization has shifted from being a positive prospect to a dangerous confusion. As the Western world is caught in heated denigration and self-criticism, turning to the past confirms the need to revisit it and re-appropriate it as a source of inspiration, a way to imagine the future without forsaking one’s own history. This can be expressed either by explicit references or subtle whimsical allusions as well as by telescoping periods. It ultimately represents a form of resistance to the acceleration of time, and, by reviving objects from the past it paradoxically contributes to the mechanisms of permanent novelty and global acceleration.
CREATIVE CONCEPTS : Techno heritage
Exploiting the fascinating aesthetics of old-fashioned mechanisms and techniques, low tech draws its inspiration from a distant past, transposing traditional craftsmanship and ornamentation to 21st century innovations. A new anachronic luxury.
1. Projecteo. This mini Instagram projector, takes us back the slide projectors of the past. 2. The Fayton by Utkan Kiziltug. Reminiscent of the 19th century phaeton, a light horse-drawn four-wheel buggy, this elegant solar vehicle is sheathed in a trans- parent body and equipped with oversized wheels. 3. Pocket watch by Jason Fletcher for Maison Rémy Martin. A pocket watch from the Legacy collection, a jewelry range based on innovative tech- niques and precious materials chosen to age well over time. 4. Edition 10 by Ultrasone. these headphones, handmade in Ger- many, combine high quality materials such as Ethiopian sheep leather, said to be the world’s softest, with advanced technologies offering incomparable hi-fi sound.