Tag Archives | temporality

Time and Technics

Christopher Pinney, UCL Anthropology

Salman Rushdie once suggested in an interview that in India you can traverse several centuries just by crossing the road.  Perhaps another way into the same question was provided by Malraux, (inevitably) more poetically in his Anti-Memoirs (“…in war, in museums real or imaginary, in culture, in history perhaps, I have found again and again a fundamental riddle, subject to the whims of memory which […] does not recreate a life in its original sequence. Lit by an invisible sun, nebulae appear which seem to presage an unknown constellation…Often linked to memory [certain scenes] sometimes turn out more disturbingly to be linked to the future too”).  I’ve always understood Rushdie’s observation to be an affirmation of Kracauer’s argument about diverse materially embedded temporalities which was difficult to reconcile with, for instance, Appadurai’s argument about modernity being simultaneously present, everywhere.…

Continue Reading

Zeitgebers, Pacemakers and Objects of Time

Charles Stewart, UCL Anthropology

timeThis being athletics season, I was watching a major European track event on the television when the pacemaker caught my attention in a middle distance race.  The announcer was excoriating him for running too far ahead of the pack, thus becoming an irrelevance. Pacemakers, also referred to as ‘rabbits’ (but never called ‘pacesetters’ in the running world) are paid to run laps at a clip that puts runners in position to break records. They may be compared with an apparently more dependable species of ‘rabbit’, the mechanical ones used at dog tracks; fluffy little dolls suspended from an iron bar, motorized to speed ahead of the greyhounds, luring them to chase.  At many American dog tracks races begin with announcements such as ‘here comes the bunny.’

Kevin Birth’s rich and insightful new book, Objects of Time: How Things Shape Temporality, prompted me to see these rabbits in a new way.  Unlike clocks or calendars they do not provide absolute measurements; nor are they autonomous environmental cues (zeitgebers), such as sunrise, the sound of birds or the feel of diurnal temperature fluctuations, which influence our internal circadian rhythms.  Rabbits are zeitgebers (literally ‘time givers’) of another sort: they regulate time to achieve relative targets such as a world record or a fast-enough dog race.  As Bachelard pointed out, temporal rhythms are fundamental to existence.  We all have phases of being hungry or sleepy, for instance, and we intimately know ourselves to be enmeshed in multiple, overlapping rhythms.  Happiness, according to Bachelard, rests in awareness of these rhythms and the ability to live in harmony with them.  Ideally we would work exactly when we felt most energetic and rest when tired.  The problem is the tyranny of ‘superimposed time’.…

Continue Reading

CFP: “A Matter of Time: Temporalities of Material Culture”

9th Visual and Cultural Studies Graduate Conference University of Rochester April 5-7, 2013

Deadline: Submit a 250-word abstract for 20 minute paper presentations and CV via vcsconference@gmail.com by no later than January 15, 2013.

As cultural critics have noted over the past thirty years, we seem to be living in an age of dematerialization. Increased information transfer speed, the disintegration of boundaries between private and public, and the commercialization of image networks have provoked anxiety regarding the control of objects and images. Yet, taking a critical stance toward the temporal thrust of this thinking—its teleology, its faith in progress—we seek to historicize this anxiety as merely another renegotiation in a continually evolving relation of time and matter. Has our relationship to material objects ever been fixed?…

Continue Reading

Symposium: The Secret Life of Objects – Materialities, Medialities, Temporalities

The International Symposium “The Secret Life of Objects: Materialities, Medialities, Temporalities” will take place in Rio de Janeiro, between August 1st and 3rd. Promoted by the State University of Rio de Janeiro, along with several other academic institutions (such as the Vilem Flusser Archiv and Universität Wien), the event is intended to debate the emergence of new paradigms, epistemologies and intellectual scenarios within the
Humanities (see below). The keynote speaker will be the French sociologist Bruno Latour and several other participants have already confirmed their presence (Graham Harman, Siegfried Zielinski, Joachim Paech, Richard Grusin, Steven Shaviro, Ian Bogost etc.).

Overview: There are strong indications that a significant transformation is underway in the so-called “human sciences” (Geisteswissenschaften, sciences humaines, Humanities). After a period of intense crisis and uncertainty, in which human sciences have frequently sought to mirror or approach the hard sciences, the beginning of the twenty-first century seems to witness a broad renewal of disciplines, approaches and methodologies.…

Continue Reading

On premature aging

 

Clare M. Wilkinson-Weber, PhD, Department of Anthropology, Washington State University Vancouver

In a couple of remarks collected from costume designers in the course of my research on the making of popular Hindi films (“Bollywood”), I was told that a challenge for the designer wanting to create “real” (as opposed to glamorous or overstated) costumes was that there was no interest in or knowledge of how to age them. By aging they meant what is sometimes termed “breakdown” or “distressing” in other theatrical and film industries, or treating the finished costume so as to appear to the viewer that it had undergone anything from days to weeks to years of wear. Considering this question has led me to discussions with ager-dyers and costume designers in contexts where aging is expected and therefore conventional, and the examination of aged costumes and the settings in which they are made.…

Continue Reading

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes