The Nostalgia of Reclaim Arcade

Back in November Tim and I sat down with the Matt Project to talk about Reclaim Arcade. I’ve been meaning to share this on the bava, and the recent announcement of the arcade opening at the end of January provided the perfect excuse. I really like the way the space was captured and the stories about the delayed opening, the sleazy history of arcades, and the post modern power of nostalgia to make us long for re-living  something we never experienced—or never even happened they way we pretend it did. I think that’s part of the magic of Reclaim Arcade for me, it’s always already a failed attempt to recreate something that will never actually be whole again. There will always be something missing in the process and that space is where imagination can take hold and try to fill the gaps.

It reminds me of a dinner I attended with friends of friends in Los Angeles when I first started floating the idea of Reclaim Video and Reclaim Arcade. The immediate response from the Ph.D. candidate in Art History at the table was that what I was talking about was not art, it was just crass, commercialized nostalgia. But for me I find the difference so hard to map. I mean the greatest piece of art I ever experienced was at the LACMA in the early 90s when an artist re-created their grandfather’s garage. It was magical, you could walk around it and see what was on the shelves, smell the must, and hear the crickets. It was like a futuristic teleportation device to the past, one that I never experienced but was all the more nostalgic for it as a result. Isn’t the ability to create that complex sense of emotion and relations to something akin to art? And while I am terribly biased, I still maintain that Reclaim Arcade is, first and foremost, art 🙂

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4 Responses to The Nostalgia of Reclaim Arcade

  1. If you really want to reclaim the original feel of arcades you should have someone selling weed in the back corner.

  2. Tom Woodward says:

    Haters gonna hate. Candidates gonna be obnoxious at dinners. Tell them to go play in Omeka.

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