Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Residual cultural forms - Raymond Williams

I have never been a huge Raymond Williams fan -- or more accurately, never just found a good niche for his work in my writings which does not mean that I am in any way hostile to him -- but I have a need to write this down, a quote from Williams' "Base and Superstructure", which has media archaeological connotations. Here quoted from a chapter in the book Residual Media (edited by Charles R. Ackland, University of Minnesota Press, 2007):

"residual cultural forms as 'experiences, meanings and values which cannot be verified or cannot be expressed in terms of the dominant culture because they are the residue of a 'previous social formation'." (p. 134, JoAnne Stober's text on Vaudeville)

This resonates with strongly with the what I guess is usually the media archaeological core idea of the repressed in media culture. Think of for example Lev Manovich writing of digital cinema summoning the repressed of the cinematic culture (returning to such forms which seem to have disappeared, or never made it mainstream) or then the more generic idea of mapping lost paths, and minor ideas. I don't think this idea is developed enough despite its centrality for media archaeology but its worth stating out clearly.

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