Discourse and Listening
Thinking Together – the discourse format is dedicated to exploring the phenomenon of time in its socio-political, philosophical and artistic dimensions.
Thinking Together 2020
Of Time Immemorial
“We who are trained by the Holy Scriptures to the knowledge of truth, do know both the beginning and end of the world.”
Lactantius (c. 250 – c. 320)
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.
Across times, geographies, and cultures, humans have tried to account for that which we cannot know. Whether creation myths, scientific theories or other cosmogonies – they are governing narratives that not only construct ideas of an origin on a large temporal scale, they also determine our imaginaries, and the way in which we relate to the present and future. These stories contain and reveal their inventors’ relation to the world, their philosophies, desires, assumptions, imaginaries, as well as their politics. And they set boundaries in turn. A world that purportedly has a beginning and an end is a fundamentally different place to inhabit than a world that moves in never-ending cycles of change. The humans inhabiting these respective worlds think, feel, dream and act differently. What asks for our attention is the politics behind the idea that time has a beginning.
Within a global and transhistoric landscape of such narratives, the Judeo-Christian cosmogony stands out in its obsession with constructing a knowable and computable beginning of the world and of time. While early Christianity strived for state power, it was essential for it to claim knowledge and control over time – its beginning as much as its end. Thus grew the vision and experience of a world with an expiry date: the very world Western culture and its mode of living has created.
Looking at different ideas and notions of beginning – and of the absence thereof – sharpens our view of the present. “Of Time Immemorial” is an invitation to think time and origin differently – and thereby open present practices for possible futures.
The guests of Thinking Together 2020 from Bolivia, Peru, Chile, China, India, Europe and the US bring to the table highly diverse knowledge, insights and ways of living.
On day one, 21 March, the Thinking Together Conference will outline perspectives on the questions described above. Day two, 22 March, is dedicated to a free-floating conversation with guests and audiences. From 23 to 27 March, Thinking Together will propose different workshop formats.