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CONFERENCE

15 October 2009
10:00 — 18:30


Location: Filmtheater ‘t Hoogt
Hall 1

“In the sun that is young once only
Time let me play and be Golden in the mercy of his means”
– Dylan Thomas, ‘Fern Hill’

 

Please register your attendance beforehand through rsvp@impakt.nl (indicate your full name and contact details). Lunch and coffee will be available at the venue.

Contemporary science and technology have made possible a temporality which -although still based upon clock time- has exploded into countless different time fractions and speeds beyond human comprehension. Today we seem to live in several time zones at the same time, propelled by a variety of internal and external time mechanisms and innumerable rhythms which continuously vibrate, resonate, connect, oscillate and disconnect. How to grasp the temporal complexity that surrounds and occupies us? What sort of ecologies of time and speed have we developed under the influence of new technologies and what is their impact on our body and senses? This conference brings together a number of international thinkers who offer new perspectives on our contemporary experience of time and speed.

 

PROGRAMME

10:00 Introduction Ann-Sophie Lehmann

10:15 John Tomlinson (united Kingdom) is Professor of Cultural Sociology and Director of the Institute for Cultural Analysis, Nottingham (ICAn). He has published a number of books on the themes of globalisation, cosmopolitanism and cultural modernity. His recent book The Culture of Speed: The Coming of Immediacy (2007) examines how speed emerged as a cultural issue during modernity. “The rise of capitalist society and the shift to urban settings was rapid and tumultuous and was defined by the belief in ‘progress’. The attempt to regulate the acceleration of life created a new set of problems, namely the way in which speed escapes regulation and rebels against controls. This pattern of acceleration and control subsequently defined debates about the cultural effects of acceleration. However, in the 21st century ‘immediacy’, the combination of fast capitalism and the saturation of the everyday by media technologies, has emerged as the core feature of control. This coming of immediacy will inexorably change how we think about and experience media culture, consumption practices, and the core of our cultural and moral values”.

11:00 Mike Crang (United Kingdom) is lecturer in cultural geography at Durham University. He has worked extensively on the relationship of social memory and identity. He is also interested in more abstract issues regarding time-space, action and temporality and co-edited the journal Time & Society from 1997 to 2006. The other strand to his work is the analysis of transformations of space and time through electronic technologies. In his essay ‘Speed=Distance/Time: Chronotopographies of Action’, Crang presents an analysis of changing temporalities in societies that are by-products of the information technology revolution.”Locating the major shifts in space and time as understood by key temporal theorists, he suggests that such space-time shifts are more complex than commonly thought, requiring a conceptual approach that better captures the effects of ICT’s on the spatial and temporal fabrics of our daily lives. Crang shows how the flexibility of location and the timing of activities are mutually interactive dimensions, and he provides a unique conceptual framework that incorporates the complexity of real-time technologies.” (Robert Hassan & Ronald E. Purser)

11:45 Carmen Leccardi (Italy) is Professor of Cultural Sociology at the University of Milan-Bicocca. She has researched extensively in the fields of time, youth cultures and gender. She was a former co-editor (1999-2008) of the journal Time & Society. Recent publications include A New Youth? Youth, Generations and Family Life (2006) and Sociologie del tempo. Soggetti e tempo nella ’società dell’accelerazione’ (Sociologies of Time. Subjects and time in the ‘acceleration society’) (2009). According to Leccardi, “we live today in a constant becoming which wraps present and future together in the same fluid temporal packaging. The time- anxiety that we suffer is unprecedented. The acceleration of social rhythms is first and foremost an economic strategy and it has produced a widespread cult of urgency on the everyday level, erasing all individual possibility of control. This mechanism has terrible effects on the individual construction of identity, forcing people to put to use forms of control and self-defence.”

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Steve Goodman (United Kingdom) teaches music culture at the School of Humanities & Social Sciences, University of East London. He runs the master “Sonic Culture” and is now working on Sonic Warfare, a theoretical research on the intersection between war and sound culture. A member of Ccru (Cybernetic Culture Research Unit), under the name of Kode9 he is a main figure in contemporary breakbeat culture. In his essay ‘Speed Tribes: netwar, affective hacking and the audio-social’, Goodman formulates the unifying relay for music cultures through speed, perception and sensation. According to him “speed tribes” are micro-cultures attached to a specific sound and speed. The distinguishing instance that defines a speed tribe expresses itself through the motion and rest of bodies. A music culture develops as an assemblage of embodied perceptions which produce and reproduce multiple singularities. In this continuous flux of movement bass nature forms itself not as closed entity but appears as a collective through “rhythmic consistency and affective potential”.

14:15 Stamatia Portanova (Italy) received her PhD in Digital Cultures from the East London University, and is now a Honorary Fellow in English Language and Literature at the University of Naples “L’Orientale”. She is a member of The Sense Lab (Concordia University, Montreal) and of the editorial board of Inflexions, the online journal of the Sense Lab. She is working at the preparation of a monograph on the relationship between choreography, science and philosophy. In her talk, she will propose a redefinition of the digital age as a “neo-Baroque” age: digital technologies make us ‘almost’ aware of our infinite micro-perceptions, and are therefore paradoxically able to intensively influence our enjoyment, even of the most ‘static’ arts. “The critique to notions of rhythm and speed intended as ‘pure velocity’, and the political consideration of how our everyday lives are (not always positively) affected by technological fastness, constitute the main shift from a Futurist to what Franco Berardi (BIFO) has defined as a Post-Futurist era. My intervention would like to replace to this definition Gilles Deleuze’s own concept of the ‘Neo-Baroque’”.

15:00 Dirk de Bruyn (The Netherlands/Australia) teaches animation and digital culture at Deakin University in Melbourne, Victoria. The past decades he has produced a number of films, videos and performances dealing with the feeling of trauma and disorientation. “The digital nEw has had its traumatic impact to become the digital nOw. (From E to O : E > O – i.e. Pinocchio’s donkey-scream)”, he writes. “And just as the speed of train travel imposed its compact sampled staccato reading of the panoramic landscape through its window-screen, nOw the sensory cluster-of-being in global technologised space has been morphed, skewered most emphatically into the visual to succumb to the omni-presence of the technical image. The ‘new’ critical looking that is now mandated for the body finds its traces in the 70s theoretical ruminations around Materialist film and the 20s cut-up avantgarde response to the shell-shock of WW1. Like the suicided Rock or Movie star, film itself flashes-back with a new aura after its own death to stand in that spot reserved for Banquo’s ghost; to gesticulate both wildly and quietly the ‘essential’ laws and limits that this new critical body-situated perception expects”.

15:45 Coffee break

16:00 Sybille Lammes (The Netherlands) is Assistant Professor at the Department of Media and Culture Studies, Faculty of Humanities, Utrecht University. In recent years, her research has focused on the function of computer games as cultural spaces and the impact of digital maps on the meanings of media and cartography. In her talk she will address the curious treatment of time related to mapping practices in so-called historical strategy games. “What is striking about maps that figure in such games is that they are at the same time highly contemporary and highly historical. Their contemporary dimension lies in their transformative qualities that make them changeable and malleable at a speed that we haven’t known before. This is a feature they share with other recent digital cartographical practices such as navigation devices and Google Earth. Their historical dimension is actually also related to this transformability: players are not just reading maps, but constantly influence the shape and look of the map itself. This is reminiscent of maps and cartographers before the Renaissance when maps were used and made in much more personal, and probably slower, ways”.

16:45 Charlie Gere (United Kingdom) teaches New Media Research at the Institute for Cultural Research, Lancaster University and is Chair of the group ‘Computers and the History of Art’ (CHArt). He’s interested in the cultural effects and meanings of technology and media, in relation to art and philosophy. His book Art, Time and Technology (2006) explores artistic responses to the increasing speed of technological development. In his talk he will look at some apocalyptic and messianic understandings of time, especially in relation to ecology. “I start with John Ruskin’s apocalyptic vision of the ‘stormcloud of the nineteenth century’ and show how it relates to the eschatological messianism of Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida and then, via Jacob Taubes, St Paul and Giorgio Agamben. I will discuss Agamben’s concept of ‘messianic time’ in relation to Benjamin’s concept of ‘dialectics at a standstill’. I attempt to think this in relation to our current ecological catastrophe. Finally I relate this to a work exhibited in the 2009 Venice Biennale, entitled ‘The Ethics of Dust’, by Jorge Otero-Pailos.”

17:30 Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead (United Kingdom) have been working together since the beginning of the 1990s on an idiosyncratic oeuvre, situated in the twilight zone between visual art and online media. Based in London, they have exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, having earned an excellent reputation as leading UK practitioners in the field of artists using technology. Most of their work deals with the influence of new technologies on our experience of time and perception of the world around us. “As time has gone by it seems more and more like we are making artworks that look at whether live information (live data) can be considered to be a material at all in artistic terms, and whether it can be used to make artworks, much like charcoal or video might be. More recently, we’ve been exploring how globally networked communications systems interact with global time zones and the physical space of the world.” Thomson teaches at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, and Craighead lectures at the University of Westminster and Goldsmiths, University of London.

 

In collaboration with the MA New Media & Digital Culture, Department of Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University. Introduction: Ann-Sophie Lehmann (Utrecht University). Moderation: Klaas Kuitenbrouwer (Virtual Platform, Amsterdam) and Mirko Tobias Schaefer (Utrecht University). This conference has been made possible by the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Mondriaan Foundation and the City of Utrecht.


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