Chronopolitics

We propose “chronopolitics” as the common theme for the various research activities of the PhD in Practice and the Center for Art/Knowledge (CAK). The problem and the potential of a focus on time and temporality will be explored via studying artistic practices, readings, discussions and presentations – during the PhD in Practice program as such and beyond. Taking cues from aesthetic practices and theoretical debates around subversive and interventionist deployments of the temporal (and historical) as well as from critiques of hegemonic, modernist-imperial notions of progress, pre-emption, development, generation, the persistence of able bodies, biography, or reproductive futurism (provided primarily by feminist, queer, dis/ability and/or postcolonial theories and practices), we will engage in a wide array of approaches toward time and the untimely. Following queer theory scholar, Elizabeth Freeman’s, critical admonition “to recognize the power of temporal as well as spatial demarcations, see temporal difference in relation to subjugated or simply illegible attachments, and view time as itself material for critical and cultural practices that counter the insistent rhythm of (re)production”[1], the theme of “chronopolitics” points toward emerging possibilities of inhabiting historical pasts, enabling lines of desire, disrupting narrative orders and producing  transhistorical action-scapes. Different and dissident ways of using past becomings for future practices, of spending time, of cultivating sloth and laziness, of performing belatedness and nostalgia, of reflecting on sequence, anticipation and retrospection, of contesting the imposition of neoliberal regimes of commodity-time and the governmentality of flexibility will be explored in the contexts of the participants’ individual research projects and the PhD in Practice/CAK program’s agenda.

Some of the concerns that guide and structure this quest are:
How can artistic research breach the linear modes and modalities that seem to be imposed upon it by ‘scientific’ disciplines?
How shall we proceed to foster non-linear, i.e. temporally unruly ways of doing artistic research?
How is the ‘contemporary’ in ‘contemporary art’ to be conceived (and contested?) in relation to the temporal modes associated with the supposedly extended durations of ‘research’?
How can the archives of dissident, deviant, de-normalizing acts and (of) representations be activated by artists and researchers whilst insisting on a critique of retro-nostalgic, antiquarian and ultimately exploitative ways of going about past presents? Could we think of trans-temporal subjectivities or of a ‘political we’ that is organized “long after the fact in the archive”? (Christopher Nealon)
How is the synchronicity and simultaneity of different postcolonial temporalities to be considered in regard to hegemonic matrices of time encoded in notions such as ‘overdevelopment’ and ‘underdevelopment’?
How is the movement through the ‘chronotopes’ of diaspora and migration to be conceptualized – e.g. in the writings of Frantz Fanon, bell hooks, Paul Gilroy, Homi K. Bhaba and others?
How can the violent, subjugating chronopolitics of (neo-)colonial regimes become the subject of enabling, agency-inducing chronopolitical interventions as embodied encounters between historical and contemporary acts and actors?
How do the non-linear temporalities of trauma, latency, belatedness, disruption, excess and the loss of control operate against the grain of teleological narratives of progress and modernization? And, considering the difference between psychic temporality and linear chronological time, how are the tropes of trauma (gap, absence, traceless trace, etc.) being negotiated at the interfaces of subjectivity, memory, fantasy and media?
How do the temporalities of performative action and visual representation differ – e.g. in regard to Gilles Deleuze’s notion of the crystalline “time-image” that replaced or supplemented the “movement-image” in late modernist cinema?
How do we avoid the trap of putting the ‘temporal’ against the ‘spatial’?
How is it that we, as individuals and as collectives, privilege certain rubrics of temporality and spatiality, and how could we theorize and politicize that privileging?
[1] Elizabeth Freeman, “Turn the Beat Around: Sadomasochism, Temporality, History”, in differences, vol. 19, no. 1, 2008, 32-70, here: 63.
Tom Holert, Renate Lorenz, Johanna Schaffer
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