Author(s): Knowles, Kim
Few issues are as pertinent today as the relationship between old and new, past and present, obsolescence and progress. Contemporary culture is increasingly characterised by a heightened awareness of the past through a revaluing of old styles, artifacts, and aesthetics. From vinyl records and super 8 cameras to iPhone apps and second-hand clothes, vintage and retro increasingly permeate our collective conscious. But how can we parse and understand these overlapping practices of looking back? This introductory essay acknowledges the ambiguous terrain of vintage and the blurred distinction between authentic appreciation and stylistic appropriation. It locates the vintage phenomenon within Walter Benjamin’s dialectical image, arguing that current artistic engagements with outmoded technology might be seen as productively activating the past in the present and exploring the new in the old. However, the simultaneous explosion of vintage into mainstream consumer habits requires a broad examination of the term in order to draw out its contradictions and complexities.
Knowles, Kim: Locating vintage. In: NECSUS. European Journal of Media Studies, Jg. 4 (2015), Nr. 2, S. 73–84. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25969/mediarep/15198.
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