Analogue Video in the Age of Retrospectacle: Aesthetics, Technology, Subculture
Abstract: This article explores the various manifestations of analogue video in digital culture. Introducing the framing concept of an aesthetics of remanence, it argues that the “society of the spectacle” (Debord) has entered an age of retrospectacle, a dominant signifier of which is the remediation and/or simulation of analogue videography. The concept of remanence connects the material conditions of magnetic tape with analogue video’s aesthetic expressions, and the cultural situation in which analogue video finds itself today. By looking at three different cases related to retro gaming, contemporary hip hop, and “old skool” rave, the article shows how the aesthetics of remanence remains highly susceptible to subcultural sensibilities—while it also functions as their shared visual variable. The short film Kung Fury (David Sandberg, 2015) is a playfully post-ironic recuperation of failed media technologies. The music video “Fromdatomb$” (David M. Helman, 2012) is a complex exploration of the idea(l) of the historical real. And the work of video art Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore(Mark Leckey, 1999) is a creative treatment of nostalgia which invites us to reconsider the medical origins of the term.