What is the Contemporary?
- Giorgio Agamben
p.41 'contemporariness is ... a singular relationship with one's own time, which adheres to it and at the same time, keeps a distance from it.'
(those who are too involved in their own time are not contemporaries because they are unable to distance themselves from it.)
p.44 'the contemporary is he who firmly holds his gaze on his own time so as to perceive not its light, but rather its darkness. All eras, for those who experience contemporariness, are obscure. The contemporary is precisely the person who knows how to see this obscurity, who is able to write by dipping his pen in the obscurity of the present.'
P.46 'What we perceive as the darkness of the heavens is...light that, though travelling towards us, cannot reach us.'
P.51 'what remains unlived... is incessantly sucked back toward the origin without ever being able to reach it.'
P.53 '... invisible light that is the darkness of the present casts its shadow on the past, so that the past, touched by this shadow, acquired by the ability to respond to the darkness of now.'
comrades of time
- boris groys
p.24 'how does the present manifest itself in our everyday experience -- before it begins to be a matter of metaphysical speculation or philosophical critique?
p.24 'Modern reductionism is a strategy for surviving the difficult journey through the present. art, literature, music and philosophy have survived the twentieth century because they threw out all unnecessary baggage.'
p.25 '...the present is actually constituted by doubt, hesitation, uncertainty, indecision -- by the need for prolonged reflection, for a delay. we want to postpone our actions in order to have more time for analysis, reflection, and consideration.'
p.28 'the present has ceased to be a point of transition from the past to the future, becoming instead a site of permanent rewriting of both past and future - of constant proliferations of historical narratives beyond any individual grasp or control.'
p.29 'the opposition between living organism and dead mechanism is obscured by the originally mechanical, repetitive, and purposeless character of the documented gesture.'
p.32 '... practicing literal repetition can be seen as initiating a rupture in the continuity of life by creating a non-historical excess of time through art. and this is the point at which art can indeed become truly contemporary.'
p.32 'to be contemporary does not necessarily mean to be present, to be here-and-now; it means to be "with time" rather than "in time".'
p.33 '... art begins to document a repetitive, indefinite, maybe even infinite present - a present that was always, already there, and can be prolonged into the indefinite future.'
(vita activa versus vita contemplativa)
P.35 'The ideology of modernity - in all of its forms - was directed against contemplation, against spectatorship, against the passivity of the masses paralysed by the spectacle of modern life.'
p.36 '... we are now living not among the masses of passive spectators ... but among the masses of artists.'
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