A Detour about Hauntology

Hauntological work evokes the half-dream, half-awake of memory. It discovers things in the cultural detritus, often by physically remixing sounds or images to create something new - something unsettling. Often, unsettling because the act of memory is an unsettling one - infallible, unstable, easily altered. It is, I think, related to the Landweird - as I understand it.

Landcrafting is my tradition; it's unavoidably a reflection of the things which I see as divine, which fill me with both awe and terror. The experience of the Landweird, of the land as horror waiting to be revealed, something unspoken hiding under the fen - is unavoidably linked to my mental health. I live in a dissociative state, suffused with ambient terror. That's where my love of hauntology comes from too. Hauntological music and media has an uneasy relationship with my coping - it can trip me into the darkest places I know, but once I'm down there anyway it makes me feel safe, less alone, like someone else has seen the horror.

Hauntology is the ghost in the machine; it's usually linked with the failure of mechanical reproduction. There's always been a link between ghosts and recording media - we even call ghosts which seem to mechanically repeat their actions "Recorded Ghosts" and that theory as a "Stone Tape", as if reality is a sort of VHS worn by over-use. Landcrafting shares this idea: we see land as palimpsest, as parchment scrubbed over and over but with the old traces still visible. The Landweird is the Land's fallible memory of itself.

This is the goal of hauntology too, but it is about us and our lost days. So most hauntology is not a natural fit for Pagan, earth-centric traditions - it's about man-made culture, and the failure of their machines, an offshoot of remix culture. We will keep seeing hauntology in response to every technology we create:

But hauntology does not have to be created and labelled as such. You make your own. You rediscover the unsettling parts of your childhood that have passed into half-memory. The ultimate hauntological act is almost certainly watching videos of yourself as a child, and not being certain whether you remember that day - or remember the video. If you regularly choose to buy things on VHS tape, you're participating in a hauntology of your own making, a sense that the physical medium of the tape captured something you lost as a child but that is somehow integral to the experience. I think the children of today will experience the lost internet as their cultural detritus, a youtube video half-forgotten and now lost, utterly lost in the sea, gone forever, as Geocities went, as early cinema went, as early television went, as tapes are lost and vinyl is scratched and books are burnt, and we're surrounded by things that are gone.

The web, as it appears at any one moment, is a phantasmagoria. It’s not a place in any reliable sense of the word. It is not a repository. It is not a library. It is a constantly changing patchwork of perpetual nowness. You can't count on the web, okay? It’s unstable. You have to know this.
[Source] also read this

Are these part of our bibliography? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that they're part of my development, and you're playing in my spiritual playground - if you seek to understand the Landweird, as I understand it, then these are part of the experiences which help me define and discover it. No, in that they are not linked to the Land, to a pastoral, and usually not to an Englishness. No, in that it may mean nothing to you. Yes, in that it's a human-centric experience of encountering memory which might help you reach an understanding of how the Land could have a memory, lingering.

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