Detailed leaf skeleton

Detailed leaf skeleton

© iStock.com / Lunasix

Conference
Thinking Together

Of Time Immemorial I

21 March is dedicated to the Thinking Together conference. This conference will outline perspectives on this year’s festival theme. Detailed programme coming soon.

  • In English with simultaneous translation into German

Past Dates

Of Time Immemorial II
Sunday, 22 March 2020, 14:00 – 18:00

Livestream on Facebook: #thinkingtogether

Thinking Together 2020 looks at a simple and powerful idea: the beginning of the world and indeed time itself. So common and naturalised is this notion, that its particularity, even strangeness, often goes unnoticed.

Nina Lykke
Algae Time – A Triptych
Audiovisual Intervention
__________

C. K. Raju
The Politics of Creationism: from John Philoponus to Stephen Hawking

By way of background, quasi-cyclic time was once the widely prevalent notion of time as represented by symbols such as the Ourobouros (a symbol for eternity/infinity), the Nataraja (Dancing Shiva), the Buddhist wheel of time (Ashok chakra), etc., in Sufi poems such as those of Rumi, down to Bollywood songs of the 1960’s. This belief in quasi-cyclic time was also part of pre- Nicene Christian beliefs, such as those of Origen.1 This was transformed by Augustine into “linear” (apocalyptic) time, on the grounds that it involved a destruction of church morality. The underlying politics however was that quasi-cyclic time was associated with equity, and apocalyptic time with inequity.2 This led to the first creationist conflict, with John Philoponus3 denying the beliefs of Proclus (in quasi-cyclic time) on the grounds that an eternal (uncreated) world was in conflict with the notion of creation in the Bible. This was long before the creationist conflict between Darwinian evolution and Biblical creation in the US. Few are however aware of how this conflict has spilt over into modern-day physics of Stephen Hawking,4 through the metaphysics of infinity in formal mathematics,5 which I will try to explain. The underlying politics is to use the credibility of science to leverage the credibility of a particular political understanding of religion.
__________

Tamara L. Bray
Archaeology, Temporal Complexity and the Politics of Time

Time is fundamental to the idea of archaeology, and the way we understand time affects the way we relate to and interpret the material remains of the past. But the notion of the past, as well as time and temporality in general, are concepts with a particular history, culture, and politics. For many peoples of the world, to paraphrase William Faulkner, the past is not dead, in fact, it’s not even past. History, as various historians have suggested, is something bequeathed to us just a few centuries ago, instilling in us a chronological sense of time distinct from the notion of immanent, embodied time, or time immemorial, with which others around the globe have operated. In this talk, I highlight several issues relating to indigenous understandings of time, the idea of temporal heterogeneity, the differences in temporalities experienced and reflected by human versus non-human members of society, and the politics of time. Rather than approaching time, temporality, and history as absolute and universal categories, it is important to take on board the insights and critiques derived not only from archaeological and ethnographic study but those emerging within modern physics and the life sciences as well with respect to such concepts as spacetime, relativity, and entanglement. Being attuned to the possibilities of divergent and multiple temporal ontologies is a key facet of the ongoing development of critical self-awareness within the discipline of archaeology as well as for ourselves and our planet.
__________

Rolando Vázquez
Beginning, precedence and decoloniality

In this talk we will address the question of the beginning through the decolonial framework. What is the function that the idea of the beginning has had in modernity? What is the coloniality of modernity’s idea of beginning? How does the decolonial respond to this modern/colonial configuration? We argue that in the modern control over historical reality, the idea of beginning has played the function of both, legitimizing and criticizing the configuration of modernity, by either narrating western-centric monocultural teleologies of its formation, or by searching for complex genealogies that denaturalize its major tenets. In both cases modernity as the present of world historical reality becomes the focus of concern for the search for beginnings or the drawing of its dispersed genealogies. When we ask for the coloniality of beginning, we are rather concerned with the erasure of other histories, that is not only their erasure from the historical narratives of modernity (teleological or genealogical), but from the very possibility for these other histories to become historical reality. It is the loss of the possibility of originating, the loss of the possibility of beginning, of worlding the world what coloniality names. Thus here beginning is not so much about something historically narrated (the beginning, the origin), but the verbality of beginning, of originating. Coloniality presents itself as the exile of other worlds from historical reality, as the severing of alternative paths into the present. Decoloniality responds to the modern/colonial order, to the affirmation of a world historical reality and the severing of others, by engaging with the question of precedence. The question of precedence is not a search for the beginning, but an awareness of the hope that is harboured in the radical plurality of times. Decoloniality witnesses the enduring temporality of the colonial wound, a temporality that exceeds the confines of what has forcefully become the present of world historical reality. Decolonial re-membering is not a claim to origins but a response to what has been dis-membered out of history, a call for healing and re-existence. Decolonial beginning is not a noun but a verbality, a principle of natality for the flourishing of other worlds of sensing and meaning.

Video Intervention by Nina Lykke

Programme

14:00
Algae Time – A Triptych
Audiovisual Intervention by Nina Lykke

14:30
The Politics of Creationism: from John Philoponus to Stephen Hawking
With C. K. Raju (IND)

16:00
Archaeology, Temporal Complexity and the Politics of Time
With Tamara L. Bray (USA)

17:00
Beginning, precedence and decoloniality
With Rolando Vázquez (MEX/NL)