Imploding the present with the past—a few 'hauntological' photos from a trip to Provence in August 2014

Walking Chippie in Bédarrides, Provence, France
As regular readers of this blog will know, I’ve recently been thinking about ‘hauntology’. This is a term derived from the philosopher Jaques Derrida and some of its meaning relies upon the fact that the word sounds the same as the French pronunciation of ‘ontologie’. You can read a helpful piece about the phenomenon by Andrew Gallix for The Guardian newspaper at this link.

‘Faux-vintage’ photography certainly fits into this phenomenon and, as Nathan Jurgenson writes, it reveals our modern tendency ‘to see what we do as always a potential document’ and, by so-doing, we are ‘imploding the present with the past, and ultimately making us nostalgic for the here and now.’

I cannot deny my own fascination with this phenomenon (both in music and photography) and in my upcoming sabbatical (May-August inclusive) I have no doubt I’ll be thinking a great deal about the implications of such a fascination. It certainly seems to connect in some way with my interest in something spoken about by Charles Olson (1910-1970) in his essay “The Present is Prologue” in Collected Prose (eds. Donald Allen and Benjamin Friedlander, University of California Press 1997 p. 205-207):

My shift is that I take it the present is prologue, not the past. The instant, therefore, is its own interpretation, as a dream is, and any action — a poem, for example. Down with causation . . . And yrself (sic): you, as the only reader and mover of the instant. You, the cause. No drag allowed, on either. Get on with it.

In the work and dogmas are: (1) How by form, to get the content instant; (2) what any of us are by the work on ourself, how to make ourself fit instruments for use (how we augment the given — what used to be called our fate); (3) that there is no such thing as duality either of the body and the soul or of the world and I, that the fact in the human universe is the discharge of the many (the multiple) by the one (yrself (sic) done right, whatever you are, in whatever job, is the thing - all hierarchies, like dualities, are dead ducks). 

  [. . .]

I find it awkward to call myself a poet or writer. If there are no walls there are no names. This is the morning, after the dispersion, and the work of the morning is methodology: how to use oneself, and on what. That is my profession. I am an archaeologist of morning.

These thoughts came upon me as, for no apparent reason, I looked back today through some ‘faux-vintage’ photos I took in August 2014 when Susanna and I made a trip to Provence, France to visit some old friends in the village of Bédarrides.

La Chapelle Saint Georges des Guarrigues near Bédarrides 
Overlooking L’Etang salé – Courthézon
One of the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape looking across to Mont Ventoux
Countryside near Bédarrides
A shepherd's hut near Bédarrides
Waymark near Bédarrides
Countryside near Bédarrides 
Countryside near Bédarrides
Pont Julien 
Gordes
Les Dentelles de Montmirail
Looking across to Mont Ventoux from Bédarrides
Roman Theatre, Orange 
Roman Theatre, Orange
Roman Theatre, Orange
Parc de la Colline, Orange, overlooking the Roman Theatre 
Castle ruins in the Parc de la Colline, Orange
Susanna explores the castle ruins in the Parc de la Colline, Orange
Castle ruins in the Parc de la Colline, Orange
Castle ruins in the Parc de la Colline, Orange
Castle ruins in the Parc de la Colline, Orange


Pont Saint-Bénézet or Pont d'Avignon
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