Alien Anthropology

The Current Moment is a Strange Place

“The past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.” – L.P. Hartley

Indeed, and an accelerating technological – as much as cultural – disassembly of the present moment not only slings us post-haste into an uncertain future, but also (and in equal measure) makes itinerant historical tourists and displaced voyeurs of us all – and even in our own countries.

The persistence of past culture as shared memory and median cognitive artefact of aspirational continuity has long been on the knife-edge of delicately-balanced interdependence with technological uptake and development. This symmetry is now so dramatically unstable that even as we find ourselves enduring the repetitive culture shocks of hyper-inflating referential spaces – and desensitising to them, in some measure – the accelerating rates of change threaten to tip us over an unrecoverable boundary and edge (horizon) into new worlds upon new worlds for which we are hardly well-prepared.

No wonder that a shared past of cultural memory and aggregate esoteric artefacts acquires such perceived – if not actual or economic and political – value, as it is now such a rare commodity. The historical threads and narratives which once bound us all are now unloosed and rapidly unravelling; this is precisely why (everywhere) we witness flailing attempts at their enthusiastic reinvention.

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