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Aleks Krotoski explores if the internet is a nostalgia machine.

We live in a world where the nostalgia for the past now permeates our present.

With online trends like 'Throw Back Thursdays', apps like Timehop and platforms which gives you the tools to make your digital image look like it was taken with an analogue camera, the internet has never seemed so backwards-facing.

In this week's episode of The Digital Human, Aleks Krotoski visits imagined worlds and eras long past to explore whether the web is a nostalgia machine.

We speak with Professor of Svetlana Boym to trace the origins of the word back to homesick Swiss mercenaries in the 17th century, visit a water park in New Jersey which was reborn through the collective power of online nostalgia and take tea with a vintage enthusiast, who divides his time between working as an air host in a high-flying company, with living in the 1940s.

Producer: Caitlin Smith.

Available now

30 minutes

Last on

Fri 2 Oct 2015 23:27

Music Played

  • Vera Lynn

    When They Sound The Last 'All Clear'

    • A Musical Tribute to VE Day.
  • Prince & The Revolution

    Purple Rain

    • 79-'86.
  • The Meters

    Handclapping song

    • New Orleans Funk.
  • Red Hot Chili Peppers


    • Californication.
  • Four Tet


    • There Is Love In You.
  • Bonobo


    • Animal Magic.
  • Purity Ring


    • Shrines.
  • moon


    • Moon.

Ben Sansum

Ben Sansum

Ben Sansum is air steward  vintage enthusiast who ‘lives’ in the 1940s. His home is a time capsule of wartime living, with only a couple of concessions to modern living. He tells us why the 1940s has such appeal to him, and what he gets from living in a past he never experienced.

Svetlana Boym

Svetlana Boym

Svetlana Boym is Professor of Slavic and Comparative Literatures at Harvard University and author of The Future of Nostalgia. She explains how far from the initial perception that nostalgia was a disease, we’ve come to understand it can be vital for our well being.

Wells Riley

Wells Riley

Wells Riley is an interactive product designer Envoy and creator of Hack Design and Startups, This Is How Design Works. He explains the power of nostalgia and skeuomorphs in design.

Donovan Sung

Donovan Sung is the product manager at Spotify, he explains why even with the latest tech, we go back to the old songs we love.

Bill Benneyan

Bill Benneyan

Bill Benneyan is Manager of Action Park in New Jersey, he explains how what could have been a PR disaster lead to an outpouring of nostalgia and renewed interest in the park.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />



  • Mon 3 Nov 2014 16:30
  • Fri 2 Oct 2015 23:27

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