MINISTRY OF NOSTALGIA: AUTHOR OWEN HATHERLEY IN CONVERSATION WITH DR. DECLAN LONG
O’Donoghue Centre, Cappa Villa, University Rd
Adm: free. Places limited
Owen Hatherley’s latest book Ministry of Nostalgia is a stimulating polemic against a suite of aesthetic and political motifs united under the term, “austerity nostalgia”. For Hatherley, austerity nostalgia is exemplified by the fetishisation of mid-century Danish furniture; by the coveting of the ex-council flat over the suburban maisonette; by the design aesthetic of home goods. Austerity nostalgia’s influence is observable in fashion & pop culture, while British cuisine at the hands of Jamie Oliver has also fallen under it’s mesmeric spell. According to Hatherley, austerity nostalgia also informs political narrative. Both “Red Tories” and “Blue Labour” activists have woven these symbols of nostalgia into a retrospective vision of English radicalism in an attempt to appeal to that chimerical entity, the English “white working class”. A proposal for the establishment of an English parliament to be based in York, the anthem of which would be “Jerusalem”, was, according to Hatherley, simply one of many attempts to rejuvenate the left by constructing an image of historical common-sense solidarity that never truly existed.
The author will discuss this and other works in conversation with Dr. Declan Long.
Owen Hatherley writes regularly on aesthetics and politics for, among others, Architectural Review, Dezeen, the Guardian and Prospect. He is the author of several books, most recently Landscapes of Communism (Penguin 2015), The Ministry of Nostalgia (Verso 2016), The Chaplin Machine (Pluto 2016, based on a PhD thesis accepted by Birkbeck College in 20111), Trans-Europe Express (Penguin 2018) and The Adventures of Owen Hatherley in the Post-Soviet Space (Repeater 2018). He is the culture editor of Tribune.
Declan Long is co-director (with Francis Halsall & Sarah Pierce) of the Master of Arts program, Art in the Contemporary World, at the National College of Art & Design, Dublin. He is a regular contributor to Artforum and Frieze and recently published the book Ghost-Haunted Land: Contemporary Art and Post-Troubles Northern Ireland (Manchester University Press, 2017).