Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ghosts of my life, or, the atrophy of dreams (Jung hearts run free)

On Reboot.FM, Lisa Blanning talks with Mark Fisher and Kodwo Eshun about Mark's new book Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures, with topics ranging from 2step and grime to the recent strain of melancholic rap.

Some records get played, including Drake's ditty about forgetting how much money's he actually made, as support of  Mark's argument  about "sad rap" / depressive hedonism  -  proof of the existential emptiness of late capitalism even for those outwardly triumphing in all its fruits of hyper-affluence and prestige symbols.

Generally agree but had a few problems since reading the Rolling Stone Drake interview in which he talks, seemingly highly enthused and not the least bit hollow-inside,  of  how his big dream is to own, or build,  the "largest residential swimming pool in the world", i.e. the planet's biggest private swimming pool. Now, nothing against swimming pools - I'm not intrinsically opposed to people owning their own pool -- indeed wouldn't mind having one myself. But to have as your strongest (non-artistic) ambition to own / build the largest swimming pool in the world....  

Reminded me of something else I read that Drake said: that his dream was to earn 25 million by the age of 25, and now he's done that, his new dream is 250 million by the age of 30. Not exactly Martin Luther King "I Have A Dream" now is it?

But nor is it dreams as in the dream life, the unconscious. The whole idea of dreams and dreaming in that sense -- nocturnal movies, the dreamwork, symbols to be interpreted, but also the irruption of dream imagery into art, from Surrealism to Monty Python and Terry Gilliam's animations -- that has all faded from the culture. We live in hyper reality not surreality. In a post-repression, post-sublimation, late capitalist society, "dreams" and "dreaming" is secularised and de-mythified; it means wanting to be famous or a billionaire, something that you could do but 99.9 percent won't.  

Videogames and CGI have something to do with it as well.

Here's my blurb for Ghosts of My Life:

"Ghosts of My Life confirms that Mark Fisher is our most penetrating explorer of the connections between pop culture, politics, and personal life under the affective regime of digital capitalism. The most admirable qualities of Fisher’s work are its lucidity, reflecting the urgency of his commitment to communicating ideas; his high expectations of popular art’s power to challenge, enlighten, and heal; and his adamant refusal to settle for less."

Also, an event this Thursday in London around Ghosts - Mark in conversation with Laura Oldfield Ford at the UEL, 7pm to 9pm - April 24 - Room US.G.17, University of East London, University Square Stratford, 1 Salway Road, E15. 1NF

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