Relative time/little time

Steiner, Shepherd F. | $23,913

Manitoba University of Manitoba 2021 SSHRC

Relative Time/Little Time is an interdisciplinary collaborative project organized by Mosaic in conjunction with artist team Bik Van der Pol (Bik). Academics and artists from Canada, the United States, and Europe will present lectures in a conference that investigates the flow or pace of time, especially in relation to current pressing political issues and society’s future. This will be supplemented by a roundtable led by emerging scholars. These free online events will take place November 1-8, 2021. Recordings of the lectures and the roundtable, podcasts engaging with the content raised by the events, and other outputs (blog posts, art) tied to the project will be published on Mosaic’s website to ensure that the scholarship created by the project remains accessible and to maintain the intellectual momentum of the event.

The project deals with the different granularities of time beginning in 1989, with the marked acceleration of capital, and ending in 2020, when the world came to a halt under the pandemic. This trajectory and its differing velocities—what we experience now as the stuttering stops and starts of quarantine and vaccine—give rise to a number of questions that key time to economy and its temporal technologies (Stiegler 1998-2010). Never in recent memory have so many felt the deceleration of working life and conversely been caught up in the increasingly frenetic pace of world events. The social bond has never felt so fragile and seemed so precious. The degree of separation between people, the environment, and the inhuman has been pushed to a breaking point by the pathogenic period (Haraway 2016; Neyrat 2019). We know that the technological sutures that link us are threadbare or pixelated, yet we now live more than ever in screen-light. Relative Time/Little Time opens up the granularity of time to questions of life death (Butler 2000; “Matter” 2015), links this new existential crisis in Western Democracies to the “nocturnal face” of colonialism in the global South (Spivak 2003; Mbembe 2019), probes the prosthetic extensions of temporal life through technology (Pettman 2013), thinks time geologically as a function of resource extraction at sites of indigenous life (Yusoff 2018), and reveals a range of functional relationships between time and mobility (Dorlin 2019), ecology, neurodiversity (Manning and Massumi 2014), geopolitical spaces, sleep, and social justice. Presenters will explore these questions in hour-long lectures, approaching them from disciplines as varied as social justice, sleep studies, philosophy, media theory, sociology, relational aesthetics (Bourriaud 1998), and documentary photography.

Our overall goal is to promote critical and creative investigation into these concerns. The project will provide new and enriching content to Mosaic’s established readership, foster new audiences by bridging the gap between the academy and the everyday life of a non-academic audience, and build connections between otherwise disparate fields of knowledge. By acting as a model of interdisciplinary collaboration with Bik Van der Pol, Mosaic intends to promote future collaborations. We aim to use the event as a training ground for students and emerging scholars, who will develop useful career skills as they moderate discussions, produce online content, and present their own academic work, and to give them an opportunity to interact with prominent academics and innovative artists from around the world. The project will also serve to orient Mosaic’s discursive future toward a creative engagement with current political issues, with art and artists acting as a catalyst to reorient the institutional weight that Mosaic already possesses as a long-standing academic publication.

With funding from the Government of Canada

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