returning

The past comes back to haunt in all sorts of ways. This is a key feature of the archaeological imagination. It may be something like “this happened here”, or “this was the way it was, and still is”. And, as archaeologists, as all of us do – we return, revisit, rehearse, reiterate, repeat. This familiar…

history’s ruin – the case of an automobile

This is one of a series of comments on the 8th biennial symposium “Connoisseurship and the Collectible Car” held at the Revs Institute for Automotive Research in Naples, Florida in March 2015. [Link] I’m in a workshop at the Revs Institute in Naples Florida, home of Miles Collier’s remarkable collection of cars and all things…

ruins – thoughts on the aesthetic

An exhibition currently at the Tate in London is exploring British images of ruin since the 18th century. Ruin Lust, an exhibition at Tate Britain from 4 March 2014, offers a guide to the mournful, thrilling, comic and perverse uses of ruins in art from the seventeenth century to the present day. The exhibition is…

The Field Marshal, the artist, and an old edition of Walter Scott

Matters of the presence of the past — haunting presences. A couple of editions of Walter Scott’s poetry have arrived from my favorite bookseller – Barter Books of Alnwick, Northumberland UK. The first is an 1866 edition of Scott’s poem, Marmion, about the days before the disaster of Flodden Field in 1513. It is illustrated…

the archaeological uncanny

Gabriel Moshenska has sent me his recent and very neat article about the archaeological uncanny in the ghost stories of MR James. Gabriel is quite right, I think, to highlight the connection between Freud’s unheimlich, ghosts, and the haunting persistence, sometimes malevolent, of the past – MR James made much of the curses that can…

automotive archaeology and the physiognomy of a car

Fred Simeone’s new book about the conservation and preservation of cars is out today, launched at Bonhams’s “Preserving the Automobile” auction at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, Philadelphia, – [Link]. Fred is prompting a reevaluation of car collecting with his support for sensitive preservation rather than restoration. There have been two preservation classes of cars…