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melancholy

This tag is associated with 10 posts

Postcard from Chernobyl

Chernobyl is a site of melancholy. It’s not just the grief, the loss, the cost and the risk of extinction. Chernobyl and Pripyat’s melancholy is inscribed in the landscape. Forest takes over the agricultural and industrial ground plane. Apartment blocks stood proud on this stratum of Soviet achievement. But the horizon breaks through, symbol of … Continue reading

You have reached your destination

It sounds final. “You have reached your destination,” says my car SatNav. Achieving a goal is melancholic in several respects. Some achievers realise there’s nothing left. It’s not going to get any better. Then some think their achievement doesn’t accrue all the benefits they expected. Freud also explained melancholy as a tendency to focus on losing something, even if it is … Continue reading

Goodbye Holocene

News of disasters and tragedies amplify collective loss and grief. Mass media and their online surrogates render tangible human tragedies due to error, injustice and war. Nature also delivers disaster. But we modern humans also grieve over nature. Those critics who identify the influence of human habitation on Planet Earth focus on the latter kind of grief. Officially, we homo sapiens and … Continue reading

Brand melancholy

Who would want to brand their city as melancholic? I’ve just caught up with the Guardian’s city brand barometer. One of the parameters by which they measure brand success is “buzz”: “a combination of social media (Facebook likes and Twitter sentiment analysis) and media mentions.” They don’t measure melancholy, but if buzzing is frenetic activity, then it’s opposite is … Continue reading

Unsuccessful failure

It’s impossible to fail utterly. Years ago, before they were usual practice, a colleague and I organised a postgraduate recruitment open day for our department. It was a great innovation, with a substantial turnout of staff. The five or so potential applicants who appeared included a boy still at school, a couple inquiring on behalf of a … Continue reading

Good morning melancholia

“Set mood to melancholy.” Scase glanced out at the morning sky, which was the sombre colour of a television tuned to a dead channel he’d read about in a novel. His new hand-held emot machine sat inert on the window ledge. “I said melancholy — or just sad if you can’t manage that.” It blinked. “Give me grief then.” … Continue reading

Absence of melancholy

The muted joy of autumn melancholy: who can resist the temptation to be lyrical in such a season? By all accounts melancholy is the feeling you get in the event of loss or absence, as in the passing of summer. Melancholy is also absent from classifications of mood and emotion as devised by experimental psychologists. For … Continue reading

Melancholy urbanism

I revisited Waverley Cemetery in Sydney a few weeks ago. It covers a valley that looks out to the Pacific Ocean. It’s a site of loss and remembering of course, but it also conforms to the architectural geometry of melancholy. The horizon is sovereign, and reminds the visitor of the reaches of time, distance and … Continue reading

The melancholy medium

It’s depressing when spoilsports sully the open and aspirational ethos of the Internet with anxieties and obsessions about cyber wars (CNN). Two weeks ago the Independent.ie reported, “North Korea has blamed South Korea and the United States for cyber attacks that temporarily shut down websites at a time of heightened tensions over the North’s nuclear … Continue reading

Melancholy and media

In an intellectually astute observation about his own Olympic success, cyclist Bradley Wiggins said, “There is almost slight melancholy. I realised on the podium that that is it for me. I don’t think anything is going to top that. To win the tour and then win Olympic gold in London at 32. I’ll look back in … Continue reading

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