Journal Issue #4 Times

Released on November 23, 2016

Tomás Saraceno. “On Space Time Foam”, 2012.

What is the Time?

Bruno Latour

For the 2015 PARSE conference on Time, Bruno Latour and Simon Critchley discussed shifting concepts of time and their impact on developments in art, philosophy and the social sciences in a conversation moderated by Mick Wilson.



Simon Critchley

For the 2015 PARSE conference on Time, Bruno Latour and Simon Critchley discussed shifting concepts of time and their impact on developments in art, philosophy and the social sciences in a conversation moderated by Mick Wilson.


Who Does the Earth Think It Is?

Anjalika Sagar (Otolith Group) with Joel Sines

For the 2015 PARSE Time conference The Otolith Group screened Medium Earth (2013) and followed this by the performance of a semi-fictional radio conversation between earthquake sensitives and philosophers in the US.

Part prequel and part premonition, Medium Earth is a work caught within its own imminent future and represents the outgrowth of research undertaken throughout California in 2012-2013. It listens to its deserts, translates the writing of its stones, and deciphers the calligraphies of its expansion cracks. The accumulation of moving images and sounds that make up Medium Earth comprise an audiovisual essay on the millennial time of geology and the infrastructural unconscious of Southern California. Focused on the ways in which tectonic forces express themselves in boulder outcrops and the hairline fractures of cast concrete, Medium Earth participates in the cultures of prophecy and forecasting that mediate the experience of seismic upheaval.

The conversation, “The Earthquake Sensitive as Planetary Subject” with image backdrop of slides from Who Does the Earth Think It Is? (2014), was performed by Anjalika Sagar and Joel Sines.


Shuffling Times

Valérie Pihet and Benedikte Zitouni

Shuffling times is an ill-considered practice inside academia (and perhaps elsewhere too). Manipulating the past for present purposes, reading the future from days gone by, is considered lax at best and devious at worst. Agreed: shuffling times is risky business. Too often, the so-called “learning from the past” becomes synonymous with accepting both present and future. What has been shall be. What is now, was actually meant to be. Determinism and fatalism are risks that should not be handled carelessly. Yet, shuffling times is what we need to do.


Flat Time House — Curating the Time-Base

John Hill and Claire Louise Staunton

Flat Time House Institute (FTHo) was initiated in 2008 in the house that John Latham (1921-2006) occupied until his death, the site of his decade-long experiment with the idea of Flat Time. FTHo, led by curator Claire Louise Staunton, commissions ongoing artistic projects that come out of the Artists Placement Group tradition (itself an interesting experiment in the temporality of the commission and the artist as an “incidental person”), hosts an archive, artists’ residencies and an alternative education programme run by artist and educator John Hill.

For the 2015 PARSE conference on Time, FTHo presented a screening programme, pairing moving image works from contemporary artists with films by John Latham, using his Time-Base Theory as a curatorial device. The selected works perform the various bands of Latham’s time-based spectrum—from Least Event (quantum) via the frequency of human perception, to human reproduction, to cosmos. The article and image selection documents the screening and the ideas behind it.

1. Weir HADES lab

Deep Decay: Into Diachronic Polychromatic Material Fictions

Andy Weir

The deep geological repository project for the long-term storage of radioactive material opens an encounter between design processes in the present and the “deep time” of 4.46 billion year futures. Beyond debates around ethics of responsibility to future generations, this article argues that what is invoked is a more radical futurity, where human thought confronts its contingency alongside nuclear timescales. Art practices play a key “stakeholder” role in imagining repository sites, in a context where they are both rooted in materialities of stochastic decay process and necessarily subject to interdisciplinary transformation. What specific knowledge can art practices give us in this context? What are their potentials and problems? And what could this mean for the historical conditions of “contemporary art”?

The article does this by departing from the 2010 film Into Eternity and its production of awestruck ineffability through cinematic allusion to massive duration. Deep radiological times are proposed instead not as “eternity” but as “very large finitude” (Morton), not immeasurable, but as call to develop art practice through collective experimentation and technological augmentation. This extends Srnicek’s proposal for an “aesthetics of the interface” as a making operational of complex data through making it amenable to the senses, and sketches some propositions informing current practical work—drawing on multiple tools and technologies of future modelling as partial models or “fictions” (Laruelle), deployments of abductive reasoning, and a performative materiality of media as critical interrogation of its own interfacing technology.


Translating 51 days: These Texts Are Not Memories

A conversation between Somaya El-Sousi, Hanna Hallgren and Jenny Tunedal

In the summer of 2014, poets Somaya El-Sousi, Hanna Hallgren and Jenny Tunedal were working together in a translation workshop via Skype that had been ongoing for more than a year. When war broke out in Gaza, where El-Sousi lives and works, this translation workshop transformed into a daily conversation on war, despair, food, rooms, objects, women, children, mothers, intimacy, fear, news, weather and writing.

The differences and distances always present in translation work became enhanced and acute, as did a sense of closeness. The circumstances of war cut into our work and somehow into the everyday quotidian life of Sweden; as a shock, as a difference, as an acute experience of a lack of experience. The computer screen became, in El-Sousi’s words: “a blue window of hope”; the hope of continuing, linearity, future.

Continuity is complicated for anyone living in Gaza. Life is a secluded incarceration, not only in space but maybe even more so in time. Future as well as political and personal history are constantly being cut off from and/or conditioned by a claustrophobic present. The disaster that war is adds enormous pressure and fear to this present, to the extent that chronological time seems almost entirely dissolved.


Towards a Purposeful Accident: Elements of Performance Art via The Ting: The Theatre of Mistakes

Jason E. Bowman with Anthony Howell

This writing and these images describe an ongoing curatorial enquiry by artist and curator Jason E. Bowman with the artist group The Theatre of Mistakes, founded in London in 1974 by writer, dancer and performer Anthony Howell. For the 2015 PARSE conference on Time, Bowman invited Howell to deliver a workshop based on the Theatre of Mistakes’ self-published volume Elements of Performance Art (1976), co-authored by Howell and Fiona Templeton. Practitioners from different disciplinary backgrounds gathered to reconstruct, then perform games-based and instructional exercises originally distilled by the company between 1974 and 1976.

Bowman’s writing considers the temporalities processed when curating the works and practices of a disbanded performance collective. The still images are of a performance at the conference derived from the workshop and the entire videoed event is available via the online publication.



Gerhard Eckel

Zeitraum (German for “timespan”, literally “time space”) is a sound environment exposing the interrelation of time and space in acoustic communication. The environment is composed of many identical sound sources dispersed irregularly in a large space, playing an aleatoric ostinato of percussive sounds. When listened to from a particular location (the “sweet spot”), the pattern is perceived as an accented but isochronous beat. The ostinato is structured such that the sounds from all sources arrive with the same delay at the sweet spot, compensating for the differences in propagation time. When walking away from the sweet spot, the regular pulse gets more and more distorted as the distances to all sound sources change and with them the propagation delays from the sources to the listener. What starts as almost imperceptible deviations and passes through various areas with different kinds of grooves, ends up in a rhythmically completely disrupted and apparently chaotic sequence of events when listened to from far off the sweet spot. By moving about, the audience explores a space literally made out of time, a time space—a bewildering experience enacted through one’s locomotion, revealing the always baffling relativity of observation.

6_Indignados_Option 1

The Conflict of Urban Synchronicity and its Heterotemporalities: Asynchronous Citizenship

Atxu Amann y Alcocer and Rodrigo Delso Gutiérrez

Eighteen or 65 years old, 50 years of contributions, three months maternity leave, three-year degrees, 40 hours a week, eight hours a day, two-hour data downloads, 15 minutes away or five hours from the city. Time, in this context, does not only appoint the dissected measure of seconds, minutes or years but provides the syntaxes through which contemporary architecture and urbanism structure the specific spatio-temporalities of cities, buildings, inhabitants and their ways of living. Consequently, the increasing desynchronisation of space and an ongoing synchronisation of time are shaping a process that erodes the diversity of our lives and simultaneously expands the differences between those who can and cannot share the market velocity. In this article, the conflict of synchronicity will be made visible within contemporary cities through the notions of heterogeneity (chronopolitics), power (syncropolitics), repetition (rhythmpolitics) and speed (acceleratiopolitics) as an emerging field of action to be explored by architects, artists or designers.


Nongkrong and Non-Productive Time in Yogyakarta’s Contemporary Arts

Sonja Dahl

Literally translated, the Indonesian word nongkrong approximates “squatting by the side of the road with a cigarette” or “sitting around because you’re not doing any work”. Though it is tempting to judge such activity as a waste of time, the process of nongkrong (essentially, non-productive social time) actually serves a very important role in building social relationships in Indonesia. It describes the act of hanging out, of bodies leaning into space together, of social, mutual space and slow time. Nongkrong is the hum of relationships, an activity that through its ubiquity, especially in Java, acts as social “glue”.

Within the contemporary arts circuit in Yogyakarta, Java, an incredible proliferation of artist collectives and collaborations support the vast number of young and emerging artists. For many of Yogya’s artists, nongkrong is an essential aspect of how both their art practices and communities function and flourish. In the words of one such artist, “Nongkrong is our school”. Its looseness allows for an open and generous exchange of ideas and information, a casual knowledge-sharing that many artists claim is more influential on their development than their educations in school. Rather than focusing on end-product productivity, nongkrong offers a holistic view of art as a long-term social process.

Taking the Indonesian concept of nongkrong as its pivot point, this paper extends the idea outwards from its specific locality to think through the importance of such non-productive social time in the broader contemporary arts. I draw on the work of a number of scholars and theorists, most particularly Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, who conceptualise “study” as an informal social process and collective intellectual practice. I contend that the casual hanging out entailed in nongkrong supports collaboration and defines what is at once a representative thread of contemporaneity in art worldwide at this historical moment, and a peculiarly and vibrantly Indonesian form of collective practice.

Vermeir & Heiremans, “Masquerade “ (set photos), 2015. Photographs by Michael De Lausnay.

Never Really in Real Time

Edgar Schmitz, Katleen Vermeir and Ronny Heiremans

This conversation took place across two Skype conversations between Edgar Schmitz, Katleen Vermeir and Ronny Heiremans following the 2015 PARSE conference, linking the concerns of temporality, economics, confidence, fabulation and the time of exhibition found in the ideas and practices of the artists.

The Epigenetic Landscape, Dr. Mhairi Towler, Link Li and Dr. Paul Harrison - all Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee

Eight Avatars of Time: An Affective-Temporal Taxonomy of the Epistemology of Time beyond Chronology

Marc Boumeester

Time is divided into static time and dynamic time, the first to be called aion, the second to be called chronos. Aion is the incorporeal, omnipresent host of events. Chronos, however, is time in being. If we regard chronos as being quasi-objective—the mere passing of equal parts of time—then kairos would express how this time is being. In this article I claim that any shape of kairos stands to chronos, as Euclidean space stands to topological space.

Previous work with students of cinema and architecture made clear there were no instruments precise enough to describe different states of time. This led to the development of a taxonomy of the appearances of time, which are reflections of the progression of time from the moment it transformed from aion into chronos. This article will present this taxonomy, called “Eight Avatars of Time”, using the following categories: volume, significance, necessity, sequence, bearing, indexicality, simultaneity and proximity. It will also elaborate on how this nomenclature is helpful to bridge philosophical concepts of time with the practice of manipulating time.