AESTHETICA MELANCHOLIA. CAPTURES, LEADING TOWARDS A DEFINITION AND CONSTELLATION. BY STEVEN BENSON

IMG_7581IMG_7569Liverpool Street station, from “Austerlitz”(Sebald)

IMG_7576the slow demise:Liverpool Central High Level station, early 1970s. I took this, as a teenager.

IMG_7570In shadow, as ever:Barrington-Coupe’s own special creation,Joyce Hatto.

These captures speak for themselves; or, perhaps, need a bit of help in the way of explication of this modus vivendi(not all-encompassing but part of my constitution):aesthetica melancholia:

  1. The beautiful decay of buildings: Sebald’s Breendonk fortress, Orford Ness,semi-desuetudinous old Great Eastern hotel (I saw it for myself). The influences of my partner blog, a study in decay and (spectral)psychogeographical dereliction https://decayetude.wordpress.com/. Concomitantly, in an intertextual fugue with past writers, my OWN (occluded) memories:
    Birkenhead Woodside; Liverpool Central High Level

OR false, imagined memory, from the dream-weave of google images:Birmingham Snow Hill. Note, they are all closed railway stations; but they are also hotels-another image of transitoriness and liminality: Scarborough Grand, the Adelphi Liverpool; or cinemas: the ABC Lime Street Liverpool :IMG_5659

What/Why?

  1. The sublimation of homo-erotic/gay desire into (dark, sometimes) aesthetics, especially of decay (make of that what you will!)
  2. A general expression of the occluded self.
  3. A fear of, yet appreciation of, decay; aligned with time passing, ageing  and fear of death. Lewis’s and Liverpool Central High Level’s last days.
  4. The ephemeral: cf short-lived, pseudonymous bargain, classical LP labels https://decayetude.wordpress.com/2012/12/24/joyce-and-barrys-pastand-pseudonymous-uncannybargain-60s-classical-vinyl-in-the-light-of-the-bbc-drama-loving-miss-hattowritten-by-victoria-wood-psychovinylophiliac-geography-by-steven-b/
  5. (even darker!): split off parts of the self{cf my work on homospectrality https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/what-is-homospectrality-and-how-to-avoid-itby-steven-benson/ and https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2012/06/23/homosocialitymale-bonding-how-it-is-propped-up-as-power-and-dominance-by-homospectralitya-political-perpective-by-steven-benson-2/ }. Luckily, these excisions are now(largely) re-claimed and re-sectioned and re-appropriated as part of my  body and self
  6.  Camp jouissance(or, sometimes, less problematically, just sheer joyful, playful exuberance, especially in early nineteenth century piano concerti). The orgasm, complete with post-climax sinking, of purchase then pain: of books, particularly: cum then decline; aka collecting mania, currently bibliophiliac (previously vinylophilia!). The obscure, in especial: the elusive Ponti recording; the camply risible Saga LP, recorded, seemingly in a bath and ripped from some Eastern European(pre fall of Berlin Wall) source; an ancient Vox LP. All of this: a stab against mortality….a parlously lofty failed attempt at stopping time(though an attempt MUST be made).
  7.  Literary example and exemplar(cautionary tale:)!): Huysmans’ Des Esseintes https://towardsutopia.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/why-camp-is-queer-by-steven-benson/
  8. Deja vu, Presque vu…

I unearth the spectre(s) of the past in the ever-shifting present…….IMG_7578

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About decayetude

ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
This entry was posted in a la recherche Benjamin gay queer archive assembalge, alterity, Benjamin a la recherche spectral psychogeography bargain LPs Hatto Barrington-Coupe Assemblage Constellation, blurred captures, Hauntology, Michael Ponti, parlous loftiness, Phenomenology, Piano music, psychogeography, queer constellations rememberances straightqueer, queer geography, Re-envisionning, Rememberances, Sebald, Self-actualisation, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, uncanny other, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to AESTHETICA MELANCHOLIA. CAPTURES, LEADING TOWARDS A DEFINITION AND CONSTELLATION. BY STEVEN BENSON

  1. wolflin says:

    I lost the comment I wrote at length last night so can only summarise now.

    Funny how once you’ve written something and need to recapture its sense, you write in its shadows and can’t replicate it.

    Another aesthetica melancholia, perhaps.

    I was [the past tense!] talking about the irony of you writing about melancholia here, on a blog called towards utopia, which you’re fully aware of, but in a sense is utopia so far away from the concept of melancholia?

    Utopia is no-place. The past has no place, or the place in which THAT past was lived has gone. I didn’t mention Heraclitus last night but he’s just popped in my head: the river into which you dip your toe is never the same river twice. That’s the gist of it anyway.

    Utopia is no-place. It’s alway future-oriented, utopia, something we strive towards, but you can strive backwards too, though, or you can’t quite, but that’s the point. Maybe striving isn’t the word, but the driver backwards towards the past (!) is something we undertake when we’re under the sway of this aesthetica melancholia you describe.

    Melancholia is ethics, and aesthetica melancholia is a modus vivendi, as you say, which is ironic, to live life in the shadows of that which has been. But melancholia has life-affirming effects (affects): what do we do when preserve the lost object but carry it forwards with us in life, give it more life?

    Now I tremble at the thought of losing this comment. This is written in the shadows of the already written, tremulous within memory today, the dying pangs of it. But it’s gone. It’s lost. I still feel it within reach, and keep going backwards in my phone history, but all I get are sites and not active forms, the content of which is always lost even if the page on which you wrote refreshes and presents itself to you, blowing a nasty little raspberry.

    Camp as aesthetica melancholia? Camp is so at odds with anything that falls under the sign of Saturn. Or so you would think. Melancholic jouissance? There is something withering about certain forms of camp, a dying fall, a registration of decadence waning, the nasty inscription of the figure of homophobia: homosexuality as decay. Does this not worry you? The nasty little homophobic discourse goes something like: they are bound to be drawn to all these remnants, all that decay, the sorry little fragments… They are symbols of their condition. Homosexuality as ruination from within. The death drive coursing through them, futile semen, no future. Is it any wonder they turn towards the past?

    Homophobes are abject fools: you can’t cheat death via reproductive futurism. They make one category mistake after another, whereas the queer subject is the bearer of truth.

    Some of our brethren are swallowing it, though, and not in a good way. Let’s not go there!

    Had better post this before the internet’s Dr Death has it within its clutches…

  2. decayetude says:

    Thanks, wolflin; complex but good sentiments! I do not see camp and melancholia as incommensurate: because the camp obscurity of certain formulae(eg musical) and (kept/found )artefacts is, a la Koestenbaum’s “Queens Throat”,as u say, a sort of preservation of the life of said objects, leading to renewal(of sorts) in the present and future; a sort of Benjamin-esque market-place-deprived afterlife, or Munozian/Derridean (queer aka quirky) traces, jettisoned into the present and the future. I see this, as you imply, to be queer ( as in anti-hegemonic generally, anti market-value when these objects were still commodities) re-clamation, ie a POSITIVE process:). I think you are tending to this view too:) Concomitantly, of course, recherché objects can bring the succour of the past, especially when the present is tough; perhaps not so positive, perhaps just necessary survival/escape…
    Incidentally, the appearing of this piece on my happy blog(“TowardsUtopia”) was not-sad to say-intended, but a mere error; though you are astute in pointing out the Unintended serendipities of this mistake . Thanks for your comments and dialogue:makes blogging( even!) more fun and much more inter-active xx

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