Speed is probably the most typifying characteristic of our information society. New technologies are often praised for their time-saving and immediate qualities. It almost appears to be a cultural imperative to regulate our time consumption as efficiently and frugally as possible, even though time as such is volatile and impossible to contain.
Our perception of time is most intense when different temporal conceptions clash. This is to say, when we experience time in an accelerated or retarded mode. The conflict between slow and fast is best witnessed in ideas of technological determinism, where the continuous development and acceleration of technological and social processes - ranging from fast food to e-commerce - are viewed as inevitable effects of progress. In contrast, these beliefs are counteracted by practices stressing the qualitative and soothing aspects of slowness. In the latter scenario the consumption of time becomes a matter of individual and conscious choice. It is thus also a critique of a society in which time is solely regarded as a precious economic good.
The crucial question here is whether a culture of speed is the natural outcome of a technologised society, or not. Digital media art provides a fertile matrix for investigating these issues. During 2000, V2_ queried the phenomenon of time and its inter-relations with technology, perception, the body, media, etc. Wiretap 6.03 was the first in a series of staged temporal collisions.
Temporal incongruence is characteristic of electronic media. Neither author nor audience may agree or even be sure as to the time or the place that is present. But with no underlying physical world with its laws and consistency, no recognizable place or time, can there be presence?
Metaphor rather than matter underlies our synthetic creations. The substance of the reality engine and the substance of the reality projected often have little in common. Without knowledge of the metaphor at work we may not be able to guess the laws governing the music we hear.
Perhaps the granularity of electronic time is just outside the familiar human range, so fine or coarse, that we all haven't tuned in yet. Whatever it is, the mastering of time is problematic for electronic artists. Many opt to let technology determine the tempo but probably this is only a passage in transhuman evolution.
Doors of Perception 6
International Slow Food Movement
International Society for the Study of Time
S T E I M
Verein zur Verzögerung der Zeit e.V.
Society for Old and New Media
Snelheid is waarschijnlijk het meest bevoorrechte kenmerk van onze
informatiemaatschappij. Nieuwe technologiën worden vaak geprezen om hun
onmiddellijke en tijdsbesparende kwaliteiten. Er lijkt welhaast een
culturele dwang om onze tijdsconsumptie zo efficiënt en zo spaarzaam
mogelijk te reguleren. Dit terwijl tijd op zich een vluchtig en
moeilijk te bevatten iets is.
Presentaties: Robert Neunteufel (A), Joel Ryan (USA/NL) en Ulf
Langheinrich/Granular Synthesis (A)
Moderatie: Caroline Nevejan (NL)