The Days of Future-Past

Published on May 30th, 2008 in: Editorial, Issues, Media, Music, The Internets |

“He had been a tool in their hands, his childhood image had been used as bait to condition him, he had lived up to their expectations, he had played his part. Now he only waited to be liquidated with, somewhere inside him, the memory of a twice-lived fragment of time.”
From La Jetée, written and directed by Chris Marker, 1962

la jetee scientist

For those of us consumed by nostalgia, technology has become a means to become further ensnared by our addictions. We spend hours searching for video clips on YouTube to relive moments from our past, moments based on recollections which are nothing more than whispers overheard in the infinite chasms of circuit boards in our heads.

If we’d had access to YouTube back in the days these memories first germinated, would we have watched current clips? Or reached back into someone else’s past, stealing their remembrances for our own gratification?

la jetee man
“This man was selected from among a thousand
for his obsession with an image from the past.”

With RealPlayer, QuickTime, iTunes, SeeqPod, Google Reader, and RSS feeds, computer and Internet technologies have bestowed this uneasy privilege upon us all; both old and new media are instantly accessible. Within minutes, we can witness the exploding popularity of a band, TV show, film, song. . . and seconds later, unearth something from 30 years ago that we never even knew existed. In this way, time has almost become meaningless. A vast horizon reduced to a single pixel.

With so much emphasis on embracing what came before and what’s up-and-coming, what’s happening now is often ignored. We don’t take the time to enjoy the present as we fetishize the past and feverishly anticipate the future. But all is not lost.

This issue of Popshifter addresses these issues in a variety of ways. Our writers and readers reveal infatuations from childhood and revive old favorites with a fresh twist. We have two Popcasts this month which collapse the past and the future while adding enjoyment to our present. Cinematic Titanic, the updated version of Mystery Science Theater 3000, prolongs the life of old movies by making current commentary. Adam McIntyre and I extend its existence with our own observations on the show itself. Mandy and Jaime from Garbo’s Daughter utilize modern technology to share their love of the 45 single, an item that may be alien to a generation of people growing up with iPods.

Christian Lipski, Michelle Patterson, and Nicole V. address the revolutionary affects of the iPod, and muse upon how music and technology exploit our emotions. Emily Carney employs the means of Now (YouTube) to explore the influence of Then (80s music). And Laura L. confronts her past with a keyboard as a weapon and a monitor as a shield.

We also focus on those artists from our pasts who are still going strong: The Kids in the Hall, Mark Mothersbaugh from Devo, Billy Zoom from X, Todd Rundgren, and Sparks, who are introducing their 21st album while playing a series of concerts to commemorate the first 20 (and each performance can be viewed as a live video stream).

We address contemporary creators such as Autodrone, Castanets, Emmy Cicierega, Mike Doughty, Jont, Trztn, and Dick Valentine, and the staggering array of new talent featured at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

And finally, there’s our interview with Nardwuar the Human Serviette, whose incredible knowledge of the past does not prevent him from gazing lovingly at the future or more importantly, from appreciating the pop culture that is already in progress

Whose to say that we can’t straddle the ever-evolving line between the Past and the Future, harnessing the power of each? Perhaps combining our enjoyment of the Past and excitement about the Future can create a more fulfilling Present.

Less Lee Moore, Managing Editor

la jetee woman
“This was the aim of the experiments: to send emissaries into Time,
to summon the Past and Future to the aid of the Present.”

One Response to “The Days of Future-Past”


  1. Popshifter » You Think You’ve Seen It All Except The Future*:
    November 27th, 2010 at 9:26 pm

    […] Popshifter’s May/June 2008 issue, I mused that we should combine our enjoyment of the past and excitement about the future to create […]

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