Sacha van Alfen

Freedom of Imagination, Reconstruction of Truth

Nostalgia is paradoxical. While longing can make us more empathetic towards others, it can also divide us based on idealized notions of who belongs. The promise to return to a ‘pure’ and ‘perfect’ state lies at the core of many powerful and violent ideologies today.   

This project aims to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of nostalgia by introducing two fictive characters, Nostos, who represents the longing to reconstruct the past (a restorative nostalgia), and Algia, who represents the longing itself (a reflective nostalgia). Giving shape and meaning to longing, these characters represent tendencies rather than absolutes. Through a chatbot they enact the two sides of nostalgia to demonstrate the paradoxical nature of this mental state.