I recently wondered out loud what outfit people would imagine me in every time they conjured up my memory after I died. Hopefully, it’s a dope one. Anecdote aside, my blog posts by in large this semester have focused on how anxieties regarding death become embedded in material objects we leave after us. My first post dealt specifically with anxieties over “ghost hood” and female abjection in its analysis of the placement of Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World in the book A Head Full of Ghosts. Later posts dealt with how the eerie was conveyed through things such as an abandoned shoe on the cross country trails, the idea that a ghost likely wouldn’t be depicted in clothing after a certain decade (the 40’s), and how video games use aesthetic costumes to transport violence from virtual reality to material consumerism. These posts spoke to ongoing projects for the class such as the macabre clothing store “Deadpop” I made for the Haunted Media Project and in my final project that will build off my last post’s analysis of the movie Toy Story in which sentient objects experience death in comparable ways to humans.
I am clearly interested in how anxieties over death become displaced or represented through the objects we choose to define ourselves, be they clothes or toys. I also, apparently, really love to quote Walter Benjamin, sometimes frankly when he doesn’t need to be quoted.
There is in itself a kind of uncanniness about leafing through one’s past academia, specifically when it is digitized. I have a tendency to forget pretty quickly what or how I’ve written and, in looking back on some of the earlier posts, I’m kind of jarred by my pretentious language so I really apologize for that. But this brings me to a more salient point–to what extent does reading one’s old writing perform a kind of haunting experience?
I’m thinking about this question in relation to a conversation I had in my creative nonfiction class about the way in which reading old diary entries feels invasive, even though, technically, they are your diary entries. To what extent, I wonder, do we at some point view certain thoughts and actions, be they academic or not, as emblematic of a “dead” version of ourselves. We can experience what it would be like for someone to look at our old things and reflect on what kind of person we were in life in our present moment. But the point I’m trying to make is, how are we always thinking or projecting ourselves into our inevitable death? How can we experience memorialization before we have died? Well, reading old blog posts I’ve written that someone may one day scrounge up long after I’ve gone sort of does the trick. And makes me cringe just a little.