In a 2012 article for Film Quarterly, Fisher summarised this process as a “confrontation with a cultural impasse: the failure of the future.” Today, we might better understand this cultural impasse as the inertial whiplash of the West post-millennium; a whiplash embodied today by the political discontent of so-called Millennials. This is the irony of the apparent dwindling of hauntology’s relevance for a new generation of bright young things. Whilst Fisher is seen as out of touch by many new readers, the central critique of hauntology has, in fact, become more mainstream — politically, at least — than he could have ever imagined. Greta Thunberg, for example, has captured the attention of the world with her declarations that the future is being stolen from her generation. The same can also still be said of our relationships to our cultural artifacts, but this was stolen from us long ago, with considerably less protesting. Nevertheless, it is a sentiment that goes back some decades. As Boards of Canada most famously declared with the title of their 1998 hauntological masterpiece, music has the right to children. Music also has a right to the future.
A new essay from me up on The Quietus today: “Music Has The Right To Children: Reframing Mark Fisher’s Hauntology”.