Temporal Experiments: Literary, Aesthetic and Social Modes of Thinking and Living Time
“Temporal Experiments” is an interdisciplinary research group engaged in an expansive investigation of the interactions between literature, art, temporality, and the social world. We seek to understand the different roles that practices and conceptions of time play in aesthetic experience and in everyday life.
About the Group
We see time as a central determinant of the ways individuals, groups, and social formations shape themselves and their experiences; our research aims to illuminate different forms of temporal experience and its imbrication with all aspects of social life.
Art, literature, and other modes of temporal comportment not only participate in established temporal rhythms, they test out or experiment with new and alternative constructions of time, rhythm, and social form. Our research proposes an understanding of literary and visual texts as temporal experiments that explore different ways of thinking, experiencing, and living time. In their experimentation with new modes of constructing time, aesthetic texts also work on their audiences, inculcating in them particular social rhythms, forms of temporal awareness, and embodied habits of mind. These temporal experiments take place both on the level of form and content.
Our research project investigates both contemporary and historical forms of temporality. On the one hand, the project responds to the increasing problems related to time and the regulation of life rhythms in today's society (e.g. time deficit, attention deficit, blurring of the boundary between work life and private life, the rise of a "24/7 society"). On the other hand, the project pursues a historical or genealogical investigation of different forms of thinking and living time.
The research group meets regularly to discuss theoretical readings on time and temporality. In 2017, we have discussed texts by Antonio Negri, Jonathon Crary, Augustine, Jacques Derrida, Martin Heidegger, Gilles Deleuze, and Georges Didi-Huberman.
The provisional keywords guiding our research so far are: habit, rhythm, kairos, post-historical/messianic time, futurity, the event. We will add other keywords as our work evolves.