The Experience of Time in the Times of the Pandemic – Group B

Activity Details

Thinking Group

4 Days - 2 Hours per Day

6 Participants


19-23 September 2020 Everday at 00.30 – 02.30 (UTC +2)


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Suggested Contribution: 450 TRY (₺)

QUESTIONS: How do we experience time? What changes when we think about time differently? How should we think about the times we are living through in the present time of the global pandemic?

DESCRIPTION: We are living in strange times, and our thinking group will approach them through the lens of thinking about time itself. Time is a strange topic to think about partially because it refers to so many different sorts of experience. From the flickering of flowing, instantaneous moments to the speeding, slowing tempos of delays and anticipations; from the depth of memory that precedes our consciousness to the artist’s imaginative work with time as a material; from the study of cosmological, geological, and psychological pasts and future to the political struggle over free time and labor time, the meaning of history, and the horizon of hope: “time” is hard to define because it involves the whole range of our experience. This thinking group will approach the variety of temporal experience without trying to assemble a grand theory of all time experience, but instead amplifying and broadening our appreciation of different sorts of time experience in the present moment, and then investigating specific fugues, counterpoints, and interplays of specific sorts of time. How does memory interact with the experience of “living in the moment”? How do our relationships with the historical past shape our experience of geological time? How do the times of different people affect each other? What sorts of time can we “share” with each other and how does that work? This last question will guide us into thinking about the new, perhaps unprecedented times we have all been experiencing in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic. One of the main sources of philosophical thinking is “breakdown,” which is to say, we often start wondering about what things are when they stop functioning as we expect, questioning the nature of love after a breakup, questioning the meaning of work after losing a job. For many of us, the pandemic broke down our regular experience of time, and we are still processing what that can mean. How have we experienced this time similarly and differently from each other, from our “everyday” life, from our understanding of history? What are the rhythms of our lives and worlds and what does it mean to be in and out of “synch” with them? How can artistic, social, and political practices engage and alter our experience of time? What temporal problems and opportunities have been exposed over the last six months? We will read some written pieces together, and do some thinking group experiments like: (1) Keeping and sharing “time diaries” of our experiences of time over several days; (2) Brainstorming, imagining different ways to visually, sonically, or performatively represent time as a result of our discussions; (3) Unpack a given scene, a song, or narrative into several overlapping sorts of time at work in it; (4) Brainstorm about which sorts of time are “in danger” or deserve support, amplification, or attention, and then imagine initiatives which could help promote these sorts of time; (5) Develop ideas about the experience of time in the pandemic and develop experiments to further investigate these ideas or represent them artistically.

Instructor Details

Adam Israel is currently an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at Adelphi University, designing courses including “Cosmology, Crisis, and Critique” and “Prophecy and Philosophy.” Adam is also a doctoral student at SUNY Stony Brook, completing a dissertation on the philosophy of time in Hegelian and Latin American philosophy while presenting conference papers and teaching short philosophy seminars for high school students and community groups. Adam’s background includes several years of political work in popular education and in hotel union organizing.

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