Last year at the Milieux Institute, the Nostagain Network was founded at the Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) research lab by 6 students. After successfully applying for funding, they received support from the Dean’s Special Initiative Award and from the Hexagram Research Network.
With this support, the Nostagain Network proudly launched a call for presentations and workshops, leading to the “LOSTAGAIN Symposium on Digital Nostalgia” on the 4th February, 2023.
As media scholars, artists, and consumers, the generative potential of nostalgia rests within all of us. This is what drove the LOSTAGAIN/NOSTALGIA symposium, which featured a collaboration of panelists and workshop leaders of 8 universities from 3 different countries. Locally, our presenters came from the TAG Lab, the Residual Media Depot, the Faculty of Fine Arts, and the Sociology and Anthropology department. Honorably, our keynote was pre-recorded and delivered by Dr. Katharina Niemeyer of UQAM, who is a Professor in the school of Media.
A total of 43 attendees, including the staff and presenters, were present in this collaborative, lively, and nostalgic event.
The symposium was divided into two themes:
POTENTIALITIES OF THE PAST and THE FUTURE IS BORN,
with participants presenting generative possibilities of nostalgia.
For example, artists Leo Morales (BA, Computation Arts) and Annie Harrisson (PhD, Communications) at Concordia hosted a workshop, titled Traces of Memory, inviting participants to draw their inner child on paper or a template that were offered to them. During that time, Annie and Leo engaged with the participants, drawing beside them. As participants discussed the history of their sketches, they stopped drawing with the stencils, and began telling/drawing their stories freehand. The aim of the workshop was to trace memory itself. Participants were prompted to reflect upon how they chose to capture their nostalgia, using tools that would exaggerate, minimize, or alter the memory entirely. Like our digital devices, these tools provide us with different modalities of engagement with our past, forever partially remembered.
Another workshop was run by Richy, who presented the Global Warning Wall, a large moveable board with four large papers taped onto a blue backdrop. Throughout the day of other panel and workshop sessions, participants were encouraged to fill in their nostalgic reactions. At the end of the symposium, the board was filled to the brim with snippets of childhood cartoon titles, significant world events, people’s memories of pre-pandemic life, and obscure forms of media.
Global Warning was able to demonstrate Richy’s argument that we are constantly “Lost Again” in our future and past. Simply put, we have become full-time nostalgics. Towards the end of the symposium, Richy invited four volunteers to tear down the sheets of paper on the wall, leaving behind pre-cut out shapes that were taped to the backdrop. What was left became a mural resembling the melting polar ice caps.
Nostagain Team: Leo Morales, Derek Pasborg, Annie Harrisson, Shahrom Ali, Rowena Chodkowski, Poki Chan, Alex Custodio, Richy Srirachanikorn
Event Photos: Michael Iantorno, Shahrom Ali, Shirley Ceravolo “Swarm”, Juan Miceli
Video Recording: Milieux Institute, Liam Byrne, Richy Srirachanikorn