Nostalgia for the Future

Nostalgia For The Future

Photo by BrAt82/

Who does not long for holding a piece of memorable time on their hands? But what exactly are we longing from the past in this very moment of now? Why do we sometimes seem to expect more from the fragment of the history than those yet to come? And why is it that we ceaselessly crave for an existential comfort through being nostalgic even after we know quite well that we can never re-experience the past completely? From the invention of phonautograph in 1857 to the release of Ry Cooder’s Bop till You Drop marked the era of all-digitally-recorded music album in 1979, the volume of time in the form of recording medium renders the act of listening outwarded. Are we the conduit of the sounding world? Or, are we the sonic conduit of the world? As Pauline Oliveros writes in her poem title The New Sound Meditation (1989),

“Listen outwardly for a sound
Make exactly the sound that someone else has made
Listen inwardly
Make a new sound that no one else has made”

In other words, when media obsolescence speaks for future memory in the age of digital decay, the point may no longer be about how the retention of time can not only be heard but about how the act of inward listening render us to be heard through this acoustic moment in time. By rendering the temporal relation between past and present into a spatial dimension of time, Wall of Sound visualises a fading memory of analogue soundscape. It is right at this assemblage of the nostalgia and emotions sonic texture where the materiality of memory come into time through auditory imagining. Isn’t Sound Garden request for a sonic agency through a pair of imaginative eyes? Or, does the beholder who stands right in front of the crossroad between the past and the future made the sound heard?

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