In Specters of Marx: The State of Debt, the Work of Mourning and
the New International, Jacques Derrida examines a set of co-terminous terms:
spectres, ghosts, apparitions and spirits. These, he argues, constitutes a
discourse on ‘hauntology’. Hauntology is a discourse that examines the
language with which we address the apparition, the ghost. As an interstitial
concept it lies between presence and absence, between the living and the dead;
it is an examination of the language we use in confronting the spectre. This
paper examines the usefulness of hauntology in reading the heritage policy of
former London Mayor Ken Livingstone during his tenure 2000–2008.
Livingstone’s project of defenestration and destruction of a number of notable
London monuments signalled a failure to critically address the memorialisation
of colonialism and the British Imperial project in India. Following on
from Deborah Cherry’s initial reading of what will be identified as
‘Livingstone-heritage’, this paper takes the reading further in examining the
wider implications and potential of reading the interstitial spectres of London.
In looking at the work of a number of contemporary British artists, this paper
addresses the inadequacy of ‘Livingstone-heritage’ through an examination of
the Fourth Plinth Project and in wider practices of visual and literary culture.