The ’90s was the last full decade where the majority of pictures were taken on film, the majority of music was recorded on tape. I’m a fan. From the first sentence of this article I knew I would like it, because I do harbor quite a bit of nostalgia for that decade. Honestly, my memories of growing up in the ’90s aren’t the happiest, it’s just that I didn’t live ’90s culture when I was there, so looking back on nearly 20 years, it’s easy to appreciate it more fully, not having the context that most others have.
Talking about the TV shows in the interview, most of the kids at school watched their share of 90210. I didn’t, but I did see Clueless and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air now and again. I even saw my first episode of Saved by the Bell just a year or two ago (shot on video, ugh, it looked terrible). The culture, the clothes, everything seemed foreign to me, but especially those damn neon colors. People may have dressed that way out in LA, but for the rest of us…I’m glad now that I never dressed “cool.” The thing is, that the cultural memory of any particular time period will remember mainly the extremes, I suppose for the time what would have been considered cutting-edge. It’s still such a minority, not what the experience of the decade was like for most people. Personally, my own life was a lot more like Home Improvement.
Still, one thing that you’ll come across in any of those shows is the absolute sanctity of The Bedroom. That at least, was part of a more collective culture which I do remember to some extent, though I never had signs on my door forbidding girls or little brothers to enter. But the source of identity that kids would cobble together from newspaper clippings, posters, shelves of action figures, whatever else…I remember it well. My brother and I never showed such a fierce territoriality as you’ll see in shows, or in Angie Salinger’s book, but I remember plenty of rooms that looked not too dissimilar from that; we were younger so the ephemera was all related to 9-12-year-olds, I suppose my cousins’ rooms would have looked a lot like those in the book. Considering that the current project I’m on involves a lot of looking at the space that I inhabit as a reflection of me and my psyche, I couldn’t think of a more relevant article.
While my own experience with them hasn’t been the greatest, I do quite like cyanotypes as a process. I don’t have much experience with digital negatives–my experience with making them was that I just inverted my files, took them to the UPS store and had them printed on transparencies. I don’t know how to feel about cyanotypes being labelled as “trendy” now. I suppose working as I do in almost a vacuum, I’m not worried about what’s popular and what’s not, but there’s something almost offensive to me when people tell me something like, “Oh, a lot of people are doing that right now.” I’m just another indistinguishable face in the middle of a movement now, I suppose.
I liked the bit about Christian Marclay, he’s an artist that interests me. He works a lot with vinyl records as a physical medium, altering them as part of an aural and visual aesthetic experience; I had no idea he’d done work with cyanotype printing. What do I think about his quote that cassettes and cyanotypes are obsolete and dying? We are all aging–merely being alive is to be dying by inches, so what Marclay really is saying is that these are living processes. The fact that they’re not widely used, yet still around, is a great testament to their longevity. In fact, the entire theme of the article is a positive one. Who knows what crazy kinds of processes people will be using in 150 years? Maybe we’ll see a resurgence of digital photography!