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.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day Irreducible

Portsmouth Naval War Memorial, Hampshire, UK. Image Source: Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

A common inscription on 20th century war memorials is taken from Ecclesiasticus 44:7:
"All these were honoured in their generations, and were the glory of their times." 
The quotation, used in this context as opposed to its original biblical chapter, recalls that war is a bloody moment of transformation, which freezes in time because of the sacrifices of its participants. It suggests that war serves, in a terrible way, a social purpose which is poorly understood, and that social purpose, or change, comes at a cost. Rituals around Remembrance Day focus on values, veterans and memories. Behind that, there is the irreducible truth of episodic and savage convulsions in history, which force transformation.

Remembrance: First World War French Officer's Time Capsule

Hubert Rochereau’s room in a house in Bélâbre, France. Images Source: Bruno Mascle/Photoshot Images via the Guardian.

The Guardian recently reported on a time capsule which preserves a French soldier's room exactly as he left it before he left for the front during the First World War. It haunts the viewer and brings back to life a European domestic world that would be forever transformed by the war. The family stipulated that the room should not be changed for 500 years:
The name of dragoons officer Hubert Rochereau is commemorated on a war memorial in Bélâbre, his native village in central France, along with those of other young men who lost their lives in the first world war.

But Rochereau also has a much more poignant and exceptional memorial: his room in a large family house in the village has been preserved with his belongings for almost 100 years since his death in Belgium.

A lace bedspread is still on the bed, adorned with photographs and Rochereau’s feathered helmet. His moth-eaten military jacket hangs limply on a hanger. His chair, tucked under his desk, faces the window in the room where he was born on 10 October 1896.

He died in an English field ambulance on 26 April 1918, a day after being wounded during fighting for control of the village of Loker, in Belgium. The village was in allied hands for much of the war but changed hands several times between 25 and 30 April, and was finally recaptured by French forces four days after Rochereau’s death.

The parents of the young officer kept his room exactly as it was the day he left for the battlefront. When they decided to move in 1935, they stipulated in the sale that Rochereau’s room should not be changed for 500 years.

Image Source: HuffPo.

Photos from HuffPo include a photo portrait of the officer. Images Source: Matthieu Bock of Europe1 via HuffPo.

Image Source: news.com.au.

Image Source: tumblr. 

Image Source: tumblr. 

World War I, Day by Day

Monks watch the bombardment of Liège by a Zeppelin Airship. "Deutscher Luftflotten Verein" in the Battle of Liège (6 August 1914). Image Source: WWI Propaganda Cards.

To remember the centenary of the beginning of the First World War in 1914, the BBC has a general Website (here) and posted several podcast series (here; thanks to -C.). Among them, 1914: Day by Day (here) is narrated by historian Margaret MacMillan and gives a day-by-day account of the opening of the war in 1914, based on archival documents. By presenting this history in short recordings, one gains an understanding of how a great war could unfold on a daily basis and how contemporaries reacted. Imagine their shock and growing fear, their realization that this war was different from all the ones before it, when the Bank of England was forced to close on 31 July 1914, or when German Zeppelins bombed the Belgian city of Liège, the first air attack on a European city, on 6 August 1914.

Zeppelin attack on Liège 9 August 1914 (Albert Ebner Kunstanstalt München). Image Source: WWI Propaganda Cards.

The bombardment of Liège (Gustav Liersch Berlin Kr. 45 Art by: Hans Rud. Schulze). Image Source: WWI Propaganda Cards.