17 Sep 2013

On the "inspirational" if inadvertent use of the term 'Ghost-Modernism'...

Though my critique of the hollow closure of post-modernity's neoliberal formative context and its codifying social practices has received only limited coverage since the days of my PhD research, I never thought that its most catchy bit would be misappropriated by others, willfully or inadvertently.

Even before starting to read for my PhD, while translating Julian Bell's history of art book "Mirror of the World", I've come to coin the term of 'Ghost-Modernism'.

In fact, to ensure the coining of this term would be 'minted' in this day and age of symbolic interaction via Facebook, Twitter etc. in a more meaningful way, I've started blogging and, on the 22nd of November 2007, I've duly published An Op-ed About the Advent of Ghost-Modernism. Shortly afterwards, Julian (Bell) was asking my permission to use this term in his history of art classes, in London, giving my name as reference for it.

Since then, I've used the term 'Ghost-Modernism' on a countless number of occasions, such as when publishing it at the start of my PhD, in 2008, upon announcing the title of my thesis, or when subsequently publishing it in the reputed Romanian journal 'Sfera Politicii'.

Yet nowadays, a random Google search will reveal that my coining, even if used, admittedly, in different contexts to the ones intended by me, has been taken over by several other internet users.

Thus, from the 'spirit cruisers' at The Now Age or the guys at Evernote, peddling tangent meanings to such people as Jimmy Stamp, a writer for some important magazines, such as Smithsonian, Wired, The Journal of Architecture Education, The Architect's Newspaper etc. people are using the power of the internet to invoke ever new meanings to a term that initially was merely trying to highlight the lack of meaning in our times...

Bogdan Lepadatu PhD

Jimmy Stamp 
06:15 (3 hours ago)
to me
Greetings Bogdan.

My name is Jimmy Stamp and I am writing in regards to the comment you recently left on my blog Life Without Buildings. Let me start by saying that, as a writer, I understand your concern and I take all issues regarding plagiarism and proper citation very seriously. I assure you that my use of the term "Ghostmodernism" is not a case of plagiarism. I had neither seen your paper nor heard your name until you wrote me and I most certainly do not appreciate being accused of plagiarism.

My friends and I have been using the term "ghostmodernism" since at least April 2007 (evidenced by both private email exchanges and publicdated blog entries) as a sort of polemical, theoretical artistic movement whose implications continue to fascinate us. My personal and professional interests are in fiction, art, and architecture - particularly Postmodernism. It was a relatively short conceptual and verbal leap from "Postmodernism," which in architecture is a movement that looks to historic forms for inspiration, to "Ghostmodernism," which I conceptualized as a theoretical form of architecture that literally manifests history. Incidentally, we also briefly considered the phrase "Postmortemism," but thought it was a little too morbid. 

While I'm sure your thesis work is excellent, I have almost no interest in politics and my understanding of neoliberalism is admittedly rudimentary. That said, a cursory look at the link you sent has made me certain that we are using the term in very different ways. My short blog entry is clearly a work of science-fiction and I see no reason to alter it in any way. Indeed, with such dramatically different uses of the term, I am puzzled as to why you jumped to the rather extreme conclusion that I was appropriating your idea. Moreover, as I'm sure you've seen, there are myriad other examples of the the word "ghostmodern" on the internet. 

Having now explained myself, unnecessarily in my opinion, I must reiterate that I am deeply offended by the very serious accusation you have levied against me in the public forum of your blog before making any effort to contact me. This is simply an instance where two people independently thought of a particularly snappy and relatively obvious term and interpreted it in their own ways. I am sure you see it as such and I request that you remove the libelous accusation from your website as soon as possible.

I sincerely wish you the best in all your future endeavors. 

Bogdan Lepadatu 
09:19 (0 minutes ago)
to Jimmy
Greetings to you too, Jimmy.

Thank you for your reply and comments and I regret the delay in replying. Having read the evidence you've submitted it now appears to me that both of us (unbeknown to each other!) may have tapped into that 'collective unconscious' roughly around the same time, which excludes any possibility that any 'plagiarism' or googleized 'research' may have occurred.

I agree with you that it may well be a case of my jumping the gun (a little!) at the sight of my 'pet discovery' being part of another's argument. I already admitted that your use of the term/concept had been different to the one I employed in my PhD thesis, whose title is: 'The Age of Ghost-Modernism: The New Liberal Utopianism and the Post-Corporatist Democratization of its Inequitable Eonomy, NSPAS, Bucharest 2011.

Though 'ghost-modernity' as a term/concept may be a long time, in this day and Age (... of Ghost-Modernism) before it will manage to emulate the notoriety enjoyed by either one of the 'radicalized', 'fast' (Agger), 'reflexive' (Giddens) or 'liquid' (Bauman) types of modernity, I am happy to acknowledge your contribution in the area as long as this acknowledgement is mutual and, of course, as long as you indicate the type of reference you would prefer me to use in this respect.

Moreover, I am prepared to "copy & paste" this reply in the places on the WWW where I've voiced my disappointment.

I too wish you the very best with your work and look forward to hearing from you.




Sarah Moshontz de la Rocha  (sent by ancientminimal@gmail.com)
20:36 (13 hours ago)
to meTaraka
Dear Mr. Bogdan Lepadatu PhD.,
I am writing in response to the comment posted on the website, now-age.org. I am simply the moderator and designer of the website itself, and I have cc'd the author, a musician and artist Taraka Larson, to this email.
Of course you should be credited for your intellectual work, and I would be happy to cite your credentials and thesis. Again, I am not the author of the work, and I am unaware of her knowledge of your work when she authored this document. Please know that there was no malicious or abusive intent. I can understand your surprise, but we honestly meant no harm. As you may have noticed, other works are cited within the paper and we would be happy to cite your works as well. I cannot speak on behalf of Taraka, but I am sure she will have similar things to say as well.
I will go ahead and cite references to Ghost Modernism with your credentials, and I will also link to your blog. Please let me know if there is anything specific that you would like mentioned or not mentioned.

Bogdan Lepadatu 
08:28 (1 hour ago)
to Sarah
Dear Mr. Patanjali,

Thank you for your message. An honest mistake is but an honest mistake if no malicious intent is present. I consider your suggestions to make amends adequate. The full title of my PhD thesis is: 'The Age of Ghost-Modernism: The New Liberal Utopianism and the Post-Corporatist Democratization of its Inequitable Eonomy, NSPAS, Bucharest 2011.