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Related: history - nostalgia - retro-futurism - vintage


Retro is a contemporary term used to describe things from a bygone era. It is often used in a positive sense, referring to quirky or attractive products that are no longer available. For example, "Retro fashion" or "Retro Chic" may consist of outdated styles, such as tie-dyed shirts from the 1970s, or poodle skirts from the 1950s. A love of retro objects (things from the past) is called retrophilia.

Retro, both in popular and in legitimized culture, can be seen as an uncritical exaltation of the past, used as a weapon against contemporary cultural forms. Retro is uncritical because it sees itself as a return to a lost authenticity, to basic values which somehow have been corrupted by later evolutions.

A critical attitude towards both the legitimate and the non-legitimate would then be what is called camp. Camp is an ironical attitude, an explicit re-introduction of non-dominant forms. It claims legitimacy, but instead of aiming at timelessness, it wants to live only a short life. It does not want to present basic values, but precisely to confront culture with its waste, to show how any norm is historical.

An example of Retro computing is the IBM 1130 computing system from 1966 which still has a following of interested users, albeit mostly via a simulator rather than the real thing.

A pastime which is becoming increasingly popular is Retro Gaming where individuals play video games on vintage computers and games consoles; although the idea of what constitutes a vintage or retro machine is one open to debate. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Retro [Jun 2005]

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