Dear friends and visitors
The pamphlet Towards a New Time Culture is now available – here on the web page (optioned in the menu as well), in PDF and soon in print as well.
We would like to thank everybody who contributed to the publication by donating to the translation. About half of the thesis has been translated and a preface and foreword has been added. Peter Holm-Jensen did a splendid job translating. Thank you! Here is a link to his website.
We will be printing a small number of the pamphlet as well. The price is 35 Kroner, 5 Euros or 4 Pounds – plus postage. We will print two times – 1st of April and 1st of May – and only the amount requested by you. If you are interested, write a mail to info (at) time-culture.net and we will print you a copy, send you an invoice and ship you a copy when printed.
Towards a new Time Culture is available as PDF – here in A4 and here in A5. The full danish version Tid, Kunst og Samfund – et bidrag til kompositionen af en ny tidskultur is still available here.
Thank you, Jeppe and Morten
Read an abstract of the pamphlet here:
Towards a New Time Culture reflects a search for different ways of living our lives and structuring our societies in new (and old) ways. This search takes its starting point in time theory. It considers the notions of time in our high speed societies very problematic and suggests new ways of thinking about time – based on balance and context. Insights provided by art and art theory are used as theoretical foundations.
I clarify how humans unrelentingly, during modernity, have strived for a higher degree of time control. This is rooted in the belief that effciency and growth are unambiguously benefcial. With the emergence of the ecological crisis, this way of thought has revealed itself as outdated. Seven consequences of the temporal shift towards control and speed are identifed in our contemporary culture. In summary, they explicate how societies which valorise speed follows patterns that are decontextualised, short-term and therefore in danger of preventing a responsible approach to our common future. This time ‘abuse’ has to be countered with a time culture based on respect for the embedded temporality of both living processes and social institutions. Respecting such temporalities necessarily means developing sensibilities towards and understandings of these processes. Works of art can assist with this.
The pamphlet explores this theoretical perspective and sets the stage for implementing new time skills in our contemporary society.
Staring into the blackness of deep space the light of ageing galaxies and celestial supergiants begins to fade. The very source of light in the universe is running dry and former blazing stellar fires are gradually turning to embers. Solar systems are flung out of orbit and galaxies consumed by black holes. The slow dimming of the last stars is a count down to an eternal night. The furnaces of life fizzle out as faint suggestions of all that went before in a cold and all encompassing darkness. Finally, the last remnants of matter disintegrate and disappear, leaving no clue that anything ever moved. Leaving no trace at all. Forever and ever.
This story of the End of Time is unique among myths about the end of the world in that it points towards a great and unalterable nothingness as the last thing to be. Contrary to cyclical mythologies it opens no door for rebirth or regeneration and unlike other linear mythologies it doesn’t offer an afterlife in some otherworld. As a cosmology it views existence and sentience as a fluke, a magnificent one, but one that shouldn’t really have happened considering the odds. As a narrative, it draws the Arrow of Time as the line between the Big Bang and the Heat Death of the Universe that holds all existence. Yet despite the simple narrative, it is the product of centuries of complex equations and thinking. Continue reading
Information December 29-30 2012.
A few thoughts concerning two articles in todays ‘Information’, the left wing daily newspaper here in Denmark.
The first ones header translates ‘The new type of drug addict is an aggressive, chaotic and desperate one’. It is written by Ida Meyer and is available here (in danish). The article lays out how drug addicts in Vesterbro in Copenhagen, which is one of the the hard drug centers of the city, lately have changed their drug habits. Instead of heroin, the preferred hard drug has now become injected cocaine.
The article describes how the behavior of the addicts changes a lot along with the Continue reading
Late december is usually a time when circles are broken, new threads appear, weave together or fall apart, in an alchemical process life spirals outward into a new form. It is also a time when we have a chance to put our heads together and talk. Nothing invigorates as real life dialogue in a moment of pause when the gaps have been filled by virtual correspondence for months on end. These last months have been exciting, busy, and complex. Time culture has both landed with us and been waiting in the dock for the next take off.
We went for a walk in the late afternoon through what to us feels like ancient woods. The air, the smell, the trails, have been with us as long as we can remember. We are home.
We talk about the seeming paradox of getting older: it seems as if we close off so many avenues as we get more certain of the direction we are heading, yet our perception sharpens and we see an unlimited number of possibilities within the known. We find different metaphors for this. Cuisine: in improvising cooking we hone in on the ingredients that we like and go well together but this apparent limitation allows us to continually refine those qualities which experience opens up. Music: when we prefer ‘classical’ or ‘jazz’ over ‘rock’ or ‘pop’ we find that any label of genre is incapable of holding the always more diverse forms we find within it. And so on. Continue reading
The field that you are standing before appears to have the same proportions as your own life.
- John Berger
A couple of years ago a friend of mine gave me a small collection of essays by John Berger, which almost looks like a pamphlet, called Why Look at Animals. Besides this pamphlet and Ways of Seeing, I am not familiarised with the range of Berger’s work, but I welcome the invitation from Dougald Hine to co-host a session at Redrawing the Maps, a week long celebration of the work of Berger, as an opportunity to become so. Reading through some of his essays, it is clear that Berger is an astute thinker about temporalities, and it seems to me as if his writing is infused very much by the same kind of thinking that underpins Time culture. The following are a few thoughts inspired by these readings. The session, entitled “A Breakout from the Prison of Modern Time Is Possible”, will be taking place at the Inigo Rooms, Somerset House, London, on Monday 5th, 6pm. Continue reading
by Morten Svenstrup
note: Danish version below
In a suburb of Århus, Denmarks second largest city, something noteworthy is going on these days. What is usually a common residential street with accompanying parked cars and traffic regulations, is completely transformed due to a simple maneuver. Two bars are put up in the middle of the road – each in the end of a approximately 100 meter road section. On the bars stickers are saying “road research”. The bars prevents the cars on the street to pass by – the heavier traffic is redirected to other streets. As a test going on for one weekend the road has become a car free zone. Only bicycles and pedestrians are allowed. Continue reading
When I bumped into Jay Griffiths in between sessions at this years Dark Mountain Festival I got both excited and a bit nervous. Jay has been a big influence on the thinking that has gone into Time culture, her book “Pip Pip” opened up a lot of insights into how our experience of time is structured in modern industrial societies. What is more, her sense of “wild time” and her effort to bring the subversive, playful and carnivalesque to our experience and embodiment of time was also an inspiration in working with my personal understanding of timescapes. Slightly starstruck I plucked up the courage to say hello and ask if she was willing to speak to me a little about time. I was interested in talking more about her idea of wild time and its connections to how we can break away from the experience of lack of time, hurriedness and fragmentation in the networked society. With about fifteen minutes until the next session, we jumped into a conversation which covered wild time, progress, capitalism and ended with an unexpected turn. Continue reading
This conversation is the first of a series of reflections on what a time culture means and how we may move towards becoming more aware of time. Over the coming months we will develop these ideas – feel free to step into the conversation!
JDG: You have just finished your thesis on time, art and society in which you analyse three different artworks (compositions by Morten Feldman and Per Nørgård as well as a film by James Benning) in terms of their temporality. You go on to apply your time analysis to wider processes in society. What are the main proposals you develop in this project?
MS: There are two starting points. The first one is that art knows something about time that we humans can learn from. And the other one is that time is the heart of our current social and ecological crises because industrial time – and later network time – accelerate the way we experience time at a pace that organisms can’t keep up with. Then there are further questions around these two statements such as: how does time relate to art, how does time work in society, how can we even talk about time? Continue reading
This post originally appeared on the Science Society and Sustainability research group (3S) blog. You can find the post here along with some additional comments.
In a contribution to the first New Public Thinking book which provides a retrospective look at socio-political developments during 2011, I discuss how network time is transforming the way we organise our lives both individually and collectively. Drawing on the work of time-analysts like Barbara Adam and Robert Hassan the essay argues that the emergence of a global present tied together via networked communication systems has resulted in the acceleration of socio-economic processes. The effects of this acceleration can be seen both on the micro-level of our personal spheres and on the macro-level of global finance as a disconnection with place and natural temporalities. Together with my co-author I propose that navigating network-time is becoming an essential life-skill – the supplanting of real places and embodied temporalities with the abstract non-place of virtual space-time has profound implications on our lives. Continue reading
This is an excerpt from an essay published in New Public Thinking‘s first book Despatches From the Invisible Revolution edited by Dougald Hine and Keith Kahn-Harris. You can find the entire essay including references here.
The nature of time is one of our oldest preoccupations as a species and the answers we have invented profoundly shape the kind of societies we create. Time-keepers have been at the centre of political and religious power throughout history and our relationship with time has deeply influenced how we perceive our place in the universe and structure our lives. Stories of the beginning and end times delineate the human world from the spirit world, and myths of origin and destiny in turn give meaning to our existence and guide our actions. As Barbara Adam explains ‘it is the human endeavour to impose a cultural will on time’ – cosmology and time reckoning are central characteristics for our species. However, for most of human history time belonged to the gods and could not be appropriated or controlled by humans (this is part of the reason why usury for so long was forbidden within Christianity and still is within Islam). Control and ownership of time went hand in hand with the appearance of clock-time and the related linear conception of time. These are very recent inventions. Continue reading