An IAS Public Lecture by Professor Robert Hassan (University of Melbourne)
Image courtesy of Abe b Ryokan on Unsplash
What accounts for the continual attraction for antiquated analog technologies? From the vinyl record to board games, and from re-issued 1985 Air Jordan 1 sneakers to the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant analog camera, we as consumers are suckers for this kind of stuff and for much more like it. The analog book is back, too, having vanquished (or fought to a standstill, the e-reader). Often, this phenomenon is put down to simple ‘nostalgia’, even if the vinyl buyer of Pink Floyd’s 1973 magnum opus is a Gen Z who grew up listening entirely to CDs. Indeed, this vague ‘nostalgia’ probably covers the extent of our theorisation of the love of obsolete or outmoded material and consumer technological forms. However, drawing from recent writings on the subject, Professor Robert Hassan argues that ‘nostalgia’ has little to do with the purchase of an obsolete and expensive Moleskine notebook, and more to do with an inherent sense of lack of connection with an increasingly and ironically digital reality. This is a digitality that abstracts us not only from a relationship with the technological forms that make us who we are as homo sapiens, but also from the natural world that the ancient analog technological forms are drawn from and correspond to.
This lecture is free and open to all. Registration is not required to attend in person.