Friday, March 30, 2018

How To Build A Time Machine

Something alarming happened to me recently. While perusing Wikipedia, as I often do, I stumbled upon an entry for a philosophy called hauntology, and I couldn't be more upset about it. I was under the assumption that I alone was "haunted by the nostalgia of lost futures", and just for once I'd like to be seen as the visionary that I am, and not some Johnny-Come-Lately to a philosophy coined by Jacques Derrida in 1993. Don't you just hate it when that happens?

Here I am, sitting here minding my own business listening to the cheesy, futuristic lounge of Frank Comstock and His Orchestra's "Music From Outer Space", with a tab open to an online emulator for the Roland TR-808 drum machine that I will never use, and watching a documentary about men who are trying to build time machines, and who even does all that? Apparently, not just me, or else these things wouldn't exist. Or would they?

I suppose there are people out there who are "exploring ideas related to temporal disjunction, retrofuturism, cultural memory, and esoteric cultural references from the past", and those people need to get out of my scene and its rich, ironic aesthetic. This town ain't big enough for the both of us.

Again, here I am, trying to be as original as all get-out, and there are others out there that are into "vintage analog synthesisers, library music, old science-fiction and pulp horror programs (including the soundtracks of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop), musique concrète and found sounds, dub and English psychedelia, and 1970s public informational films.", and why are those people copying everything I do? Get out of my scene, you bunch of poseurs.

Here I sit, heartbroken for the lack of hovering, anti-gravity vehicles because you all insist on cars, and lo and behold, someone has already pined over it.

This was supposed to be the future, and it sucks.

Thanks for nothing.

Anyway, How To Build a Time Machine is an interesting documentary about two men who created their own time machines. One guy is a film professional who worked on Pee Wee's Playhouse, and built a hand tooled marble, brass, and mahogany replica of the original machine from the 1960 film The Time Machine directed by George Pal. The other subject of the documentary is a scientist who is attempting to create an actual, working time machine utilizing a ring of lasers that drags a neutron around a circle of light. Throughout the film, explanations of film techniques including stop motion, time lapse, and montage, and discussions of the theory of relativity and black holes are integrated into footage of the building of each machine.

An astonishing moment occurs in the film when the film-maker visits a guy who owns the original time machine prop from the film, and casually shows the collector has the original metal skeleton of the King Kong puppet, and the costume from the 1940s serial The Adventures of Captain Marvel, which caused me to gasp in amazement.

Don't even get me started on how I feel about the new Shazam film, slated for release in 2019, which is in the future. That's a discussion for another day, which will also be in the future.

Anyway, How to Build A Time Machine is a fascinating look at obsession, regret, and the struggle with imperfection.

*All the quotes are attributed to the original wikipedia article on hauntology, found at this link if you're interested, but seriously, get out of my scene.

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