A Matter of Time

Salwa Aleryani
A Matter of Time

Seminar, English/Deutsch, 2 SWS, 2 ECTS
Tuesdays, 12-15:30 h, 7 dates: 26.4., 10.5., 24.5., 7.6., 21.6., 5.7., 19.7.2022, Hardenbergstr. 33, room 151

In Tsai Liang-ming’s “What Time Is It There?” (2001) a man who sells wristwatches from a display case on the sidewalks of Taipei sells a watch that displays two time zones to a young woman en route to Paris. Following the encounter he becomes fixated and sets off to change the time of every clock he sells and comes across in Taipei to Paris time. Whether understood as a grand gesture of romance, an attempt to get closer to her, to live a time other than his own, or a desire for synchronicity — the narrative sparks off a myriad of questions of how we’ve come to conceive of time, and by virtue what we understand as the present, past and future.

Much of the world today is governed by the clock. “Its presence is often taken for granted and its language of hours, minutes and seconds has become so familiar that an alternative consciousness of time seems inconceivable.” In 1884, at the height of the colonial era, the establishment of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), sought to replace ‘local times’ around the world and in effect eliminate alternative cultures of time.

This course aims to collectively explore and reflect on concepts of time and practices of measuring and experiencing its passage as they changed through history, leading up to the dominant form of western time today. Through discussions and creative exercises we will look into ancient and indigenous methods and instruments of timekeeping, guided by readings (e.g.The Colonization of Time) and artistic practices (e.g. Black Quantum Futurism, Raqs Media Collective), keeping in mind keywords such as: overtime, virtual time, waiting time, dead time, labor time, and crip time.

Requirements for the ungraded Studium Generale credits: Active and regular attendance. Participation in discussions and activities, including artistic assignments, individually and within the group.

Salwa Aleryani is a visual artist working primarily with sculpture and installation. Her practice is driven by objects and materials, their histories, potentials, promises but also their opacity and resistance. In 2020/21 she was a fellow at the Graduiertenschule at the Berlin Center for Advanced Studies in Arts and Sciences at UdK— and recently her work has been shown at Skulpturenpark (Berlin), British Museum (London), MMAG (Amman), Savvy Contemporary (Berlin), among others.