Longing for Lo-fi

Glimpsing back through technology

[published by Onomatopee]

It’s late at night. Every now and then, a lone car drives by under my window, down the street. The faint sound of tires on wet asphalt is like soothing white noise. I am reminded that the world goes on, despite my efforts to stay up late. To stay awake until that specific moment where time seems to halt. A GIF from Hey Arnold fills my monitor screen as I am writing some notes down on paper. I always thought Arnold’s bedroom was amazing, with the large skylight and elevated sleeping area.

In the here and today there are many attempts to recreate spaces of comfort. The lo-fi community should be considered one of them. Through the numerous nostalgic references and relaxing beats of lo-fi, we retrieve a glimpse of what was once our home—be it real or imaginary.

Not to state that we all take a trip down memory lane while listening to lo-fi, not at all actually. When we look at the live chat that accompanies these streams, we are often confronted with people talking about their workload. Those discussing an upcoming deadline are often met with encouraging and supportive comments that they can do it, they can go that extra mile.

One might say that Longing for Lo-fi equals longing for the homely. This book-length essay looks at internet culture through the lens of psychoanalysis, semiotics and critical theory, in an attempt to lay the feeling of comfort bare.