In 2021, my partner Ashley and I had just moved back to New York and wanted to throw a housewarming party for our friends. It happened to be around Halloween, so we were excited to make it a themed event… I wanted it to be about the future, with cyborgs, computers, and glow-in-the-dark clothing, but Ashley has always been more interested in the past: candle light, long dresses, and ancient books.
We realized that what we were fascinated by, in both the future and the past, was technology: tools and objects people would use to suit their needs, get things done, or express themselves. Through compiling blocks in the channel “Fantasy of future and past,” we reflected on the collision of time — how innovation has happened/happens/will happen in any time period, how the old may be new today and the new may reference something we’ve always known from the past.
What is it that makes us deem something futuristic or old? Books have existed for a long time, yet it’s revelatory to think of the medium as advanced technology. As you read the pages you can see what’s coming in the future and what’s in the past. Readers can access stories at any point in time.
This image is from the 2014 film It Follows. The time period the movie is set in is never addressed, but some scenes show used cars from maybe the ’70s or ’80s. The atmosphere feels retro. In one scene and that scene only, one of the characters uses what looks like a flip phone shaped like a seashell. It turns out to be a reader of sorts, which can be scrolled through via touch screen. Something from another time, way in the future.
Candle clocks are a way to count the passage of time with a candle and nails. Ashley pointed me to this, I had never seen it before. When I think of measuring time, I picture devices powered by electricity. This is an efficient way to tell time indoors that’s existed for centuries. High tech with no wires, with a first record of use in 520 AD.
Back to the party-planning… I was going to dress up as a cyborg. I discovered a designer in France who sold cyborg wear on Etsy. For my costume, I bought this headpiece that lit up in the dark.
A ton of sci-fi movies play with the idea of merging time. I added screengrabs from Star Wars to the channel, particularly of holograms used for recording and playback of images.
These apparitions make me think of ghosts… It’s fitting because ghosts are time travelers in that they come to haunt and tend to stay in places forever or for a long time, after their lives in those places are over. Ghosts are also, needless to say, a Halloween classic.
Luiza Dale is a graphic designer who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She runs a small press called Quickbooks and works with Laura Tolomelli and Tuan Quoc Pham as The Aliens.