Christian Long

Bruce McCall: Faux Nostalgia

In TED Talks on April 12, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Reflection by SCOTT M.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Bruce McCall:  Faux Nostalgia

Nostalgia is defined on as a wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life. Faux is simply defined as false.

So what do we get from these two terms?

The desire to return to a time or place in the past that never happened. Bruce McCall’s artwork does exaclty that. It reaches into a parellel universe of weirdness that he defines as faux nostalgia, where cars flew and ocean liners were as big as cities. But his art isn’t all fake memories.

Bruce McCall started as a automobile advertisement artist and made his way up to contributing to the New Yorker. His specialty… humorous paintings that make fun of past visions of the future. He breaks the paintings down into different groups that he has personally made up words for like retrofuturism or hyperbolic overkill. His paintings are very realistic looking and almost make it look like the fake memories actually happened.

In his first section of art he talks about retrofuturism or the way the past looked at the future and what they thought it would be like. He shows a few pictures from old magazines and catalogues from back then and it shows how during the 30’s people really did think that there would soon be flying cars and superfast trains that anyone and everyone could ride.
This also shows how propoganda worked during the depression. Catalogues were made by the government with brighter tomorrows envisioned on them to keep people’s hopes up.

This might have actually worked.

Techno Archeology is bringing back old technologies that should’ve never been invented like the zeppelin or the autogyro. It’s funny because during his entire presentation, McCall is sort of making fun of humans. He is taking an in depth look at how humans work and how inventions and technology really show how we see the world. he shows this very well at the very end with his 3 page New Yorker cover.

In The Ascent of Man Bruce McCall shows all the basic stages of human life and it is illustrated at the very end with a video. On the last page of the drawing it shows modern man falling off the escalator of life. What does he say is happening then? Man itself is falling apart. He’s suggesting we’re full of fake past memories and obscene views of the future that, in his opinion will never be real:  like the flying cars or giant ocean liners.

He’s an artist with an opinion and he shows it very well.


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