Is time that hard to grasp?
– Trailer for the stream Approaching Time-Things
The stream “Approaching Time-Things”, which participates at STREAMS 2021, is dedicated to time that matters, times that take material form, that you can touch; an inquiry into time as an observable phenomenon. In other words, we want to challenge the truism that time is impossible to grasp or represent.
Kicking off a trailer in July, the organizers will host a virtual conversation with the philosopher Michelle Bastian, who has spent more than a decade blazing new trails in critical time studies and more-than-human temporalities. In Bastian’s thought, time appears in surprising places. Time-keeping, she has argued, may be more ethical with reference to the fate of leatherback turtles on a warming planet, than in the contemporary, international time regime measuring seconds through shifts in the cesium atom. Currently working on the temporal lessons of phenology – “nature’s calendar,” or the study of recurring nonhuman events and their interactions with climate – Bastian is adamant that time is not intangible at all.
Is time that hard to grasp? Tune in on August 5th, 14.00–15.00 CET as we reflect on this critical issue. We will also be considering why time has been so abstracted throughout modern Western history, and what role this abstraction plays in the grand temporal imaginaries of modernity. Finally, what kind of colonial notions of seasonality makes some Australians of European descent sport fake Christmas spruces in mid-summer?
Michelle Bastian is a Senior Lecturer at the Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh. Bastian has published and edited prolifically, bringing feminist, environmental and continental thought to bear on profound issues of the need to reckon with social time and communal time-keeping in philosophy. She also works to put critical time studies and environmental humanities in conversation, combining field, design and participatory research methods with multi-species methods in the quest for a communal, more-than-human temporal thought. Bastian is founder of the Temporal Belongings Network and an Editor-in-Chief of the journal Time & Society.
Stine Alling Jakobsen is a PhD candidate at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo. Jakobsen’s work is a materialist history of cryolite mining in Greenland and the globalization of synthetic cryolite. Approaching time-things, Jakobsen is fascinated by cryolite spectrometry, and the implications of diffraction as a temporal event. Along with the other organizers, she is a member of the research group Lifetimes: A Natural History of the Present.
Leonoor Zuiderveen Borgesius is a PhD candidate at the Department of of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo. Borgesius researches the travelling practices of civil engineers between the Netherlands and its colonies, particularly in Surinam, in the years when the Zuiderzee Works, an enormous land-reclamation project outside Amsterdam, was conceived. Approaching time-things, Borgesius is interested in the coproduction of time and space, particularly the resonances between the colonial “virgin lands” trope and the modernist engineering project to claim “new and empty lands”.
Emil Flatø is a PhD candidate at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages, University of Oslo. Flatø’s PhD project is about the community of untraditional experts, scientists with novel technology and publicity entrepreneurs, mainly in the United States, who laid the foundations of a futures regime in the emerging cross-curricular field of climate science in the 1970s. Approaching time-things, Flatø is interested in the political and temporal meaning of anthropogenic change, the impacts of virtuality in science and the epistemology of futures.
For further information: Emil Henrik Flatø