What is hauntology?

Spending time on Padraig’s Subject-barred brought the concept of hauntology to my attention via this piece titled The Gramophone’s Technological Uncanny which furthers Mark K-Punk’s investigation of sonic hauntology. In its origins hauntology is Jacques Derrida‘s neologism which is, in French, a pun on ontology and refers to, in the words of the Halflives website: “the paradoxical state of the specter, which is neither being nor non-being.”

Besides by K-Punk (here in a piece on Kubrick), hauntology is also used by Simon Reynolds here and by Woebot here.

No doubt the term goes back 1848 when Marx and Engels stated “A spectre is haunting Europe, the spectre of Communism.” Haunting is about ghosts, and one of the first people to use the word haunting in a musical context was David Toop’s Haunted Weather : Music, Silence, and Memory (2004).

About four weeks ago, The Existence Machine also wondered just what is hauntology.

K-Punk thinks this is a good summary of the concept.

Someone wrote an Wikipedia entry on hauntology in October of 2006 but it was deleted by consensus. It finally passed Wikipedia stringent notability criteria in August 2007.

See hauntology at artandpop.