When the day comes towards you: Pacing the intimate geographies of time between four walls

Authors: Seraphine Appel*, Pompeu Fabra University
Topics: Social Theory
Keywords: temporality, productivity, thick present
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 55
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


What does it mean to pause? The pandemic has generated a quality of temporal suspension although the demands of capital expect us to produce and consume the same as, if not more than, before. The pause allowed for a moment of rest while production lagged before human activity quickly adapted to its new constraints. Yet the feeling of pending time remains. The pause offers an opening to ecologize time—that is, to spread it out horizontally into a thick present which accounts for the layered strata of sedimentary pasts and futures that sift into one another. François Hartog (2003) suggests that, contrasting with modernity’s progress-oriented conception of time, contemporaneity understands the past and future from a more profoundly presentist perspective. This temporal stance borrows from the future in service of the present, normalizing extractive industries and shortsighted politics, and overcoming it requires a radical rearticulation of productivity. Utilizing Christine Ross’s (2012) treatment of productive/unproductive time and the embodiment of apartment pacing in strict lockdown, this paper argues that a thick present as a depreciation of linear perspective is a challenge to dominant narratives of productive time.

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