Sunday, January 30, 2011

Janus, Orpheus, Obsolescing

Republican Janus Coin, c. 225 - 212 BCE

I'd like to take a moment here on my daily blog to recommend a couple of things:

1. my most recent Fortnightly Blog:
January: Forward Vision, Backward Glance
[excerpt below]


2. a timely, stylish, and informative blog out of Philadelphia: Obsolescing: watching technologies as they wane. It is a nostalgic blog, but also forward thinking -- like Janus!

One of my favorite recent posts on Obsolescing is the autumnal "Ode for the Season" October 6, 2010 with it's allusion to the bereft Orpheus and Gerard Manley Hopkins' mournful little Margaret: "I think that the emotions that autumn elicits, the melancholy my own primitive soul starts feeling as the days shorten, are akin to the distress and sorrow we feel as the objects of our life, the utilitarian technologies that once surrounded and defined us, fade into memory. News of a past technology’s demise makes us suddenly, desperately long to hold, to touch, to smell, to hear the things of our past. Like Orpheus leading his beloved from the Underworld, we look back to reassure ourselves that the everyday things we have known and loved and remember still exist in their full corporeal presence (That’s why we revel in the sensory details — the typewriter’s clacking keys, the mimeograph ink’s distinctive scent.) Instead, we turn back to watch, in sadness and horror, as the objects of our lives, the tangible evidence of our own existence, slip from our outstretched arms" (~ Ann de Forest).

detail from
"Orpheus Leading Eurydice from the Underworld
," 1861
by Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (1796 - 1875)
French Landscape Painter

So as January comes to a close, should you crave a late night reminiscence of the old year or desire some early morning reading in contemplation of the new months ahead, turn on your astonishingly capable laptop computer and take a further look at Obsolescing: watching technologies as they wane. Enjoy the nostalgic, visionary musings of Ann de Forest and David Comberg.

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