Comments on a cultural reality between past and future.

This blog describes Metatime in the Posthuman experience, drawn from Sir Isaac Newton's secret work on the future end of times, a tract in which he described Histories of Things to Come. His hidden papers on the occult were auctioned to two private buyers in 1936 at Sotheby's, but were not available for public research until the 1990s.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Retro-Futurism 7: Beauty from Barcelona

Babylon Cast into Hell, f. 65r (Ap. 18, 22b-24). Image from The Apocalypse of 1313 by M. Moleiro.  (Original: Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris)

On this blog, I've been discussing Retro-Futurism in terms not normally used by bloggers.  Retro-Futurism typically refers to depictions of the future which were conceived up to the 1980s.  I'm using the term to describe this idea as well as a similar time-twisting concept: the regeneration of very old tropes, images, symbols and stories in the present day.  The Tech Revolution has ensured that many of the things we once associated with the future- such as video phone calls in Blade Runner - are now part of our daily reality.  But the more we achieve that future, the more another, unexpected pattern has occurred, wherein older historical artifacts or antiquarian customs are reproduced or reworked in ways that fit in with the Space Age.  Herein lies the genesis of retro-movements such as Cyberpunk and Steampunk.  But the trend is everywhere, this treasuring and rediscovery of the past.  Part of this depends on the development of new technologies of historical reproduction.  The past can be brought back to life with more immediacy than ever before. Thus, the Millennium is characterized by a mysterious and radical blending of the past and present.

Great examples can be found in the beautiful Spanish city of Barcelona, where the remarkable company M. Moleiro reproduces medieval books, or codices (codices were bound books that replaced scrolls, with each book written out by scribes entirely by hand, prior to the invention of the printing press).  The company's homesite (here) declares M. Moleiro as: "the most prestigious company in the world specialised in the reproduction of codices, maps and works of art usually made on parchment, vellum, paper, papyrus… between the 13th and 16th centuries in the form, in most instances, of illuminated books. The techniques employed in reproducing the codices, combined with the wisdom and skilled craftsmanship of our trade, enable us to remain very faithful to the original. Bound in leather tanned used the methods of years past and reproduced on special, hand-made paper, our codices reproduce all the nuances of the paintings, parchment, gold and silver leaf."  Go look at Moleiro's site, and be amazed at how the Middle Ages have been reincarnated in the Tech-riddled present. The Biblical reproduction section includes a number of medieval depictions of Apocalypses.  If money is no object, you can order reproductions from Moleiro; and then you too can own your very own perfect medieval Bible or medical manual.  They also have a free catalogue, which you can order here.

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