Special Issue "Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Timothy Barker
Website
Guest Editor
School of Culture and Creative Arts, University of Glasgow, University Avenue, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK
Interests: Media Archaeology; Media Philosophy; Interactivity; Philosophical Approaches to Games and Play; Philosophy of Time

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Philosophies is currently inviting submissions for a special issue on Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity. In the special issue we hope to address questions of so-called ‘globality’ and media, paying particular attention to the way media and mediation may offer new ways to describe, explore and critically evaluate global temporalities in the twenty-first century. In general, we want to ask can close attention to the function of media offer us new ways to think about time and temporality, including critical approaches to historiography? and, following on from this what do methods of communication - and miscommunication – tell us about the contemporary conditions of globality?

As the methods of networked communication proliferate and as questions of the fidelity of information and the political economies of noise begin to take on new relevance, these questions require close critical attention. In this special issue of Philosophies we seek contributions from across fields including but not limited to philosophy, media theory, art history, political theory, digital humanities and cultural history that engage with questions relating to what Terry Smith describes as ‘the conditions of contemporaneity’ through a focus on philosophies of media and time. This involves thinking about the multiple times that are collected together – and that often cause conflict – within contemporary societies. This also involves rethinking the spatial dynamics of the social within info-spheres of various scales and exploring the multiple global histories now produced by networked communication and social media. Overall, we are asking contributors to this special issue to critically explore the function of media in producing and explaining world histories and temporal experience. We are also interested in contributions that explore potential sites of resistance within or outside these new territories for communicative reality.

The term 'contemporaneity', which we use in this special issue to refer to the time of the global, is designed to describe the historical present and is intended to capture an intense depth difference. As a replacement for the conceptualisation of history found in discussions of Western modernity, the term contemporaneity has been used in cultural theory, art theory and philosophy over the last decade or so to discuss new ideas about the multiple, and often conflicting times, memories and histories of global, twenty-first century culture.[1] Modernity was described as marked by a type of time that was one-dimensional, progressive and oriented towards the production of a shared future. It could be claimed that post-modernity, on the other hand was conceived as, among other things, the aftermath of this type of time. The term contemporaneity is a way of both getting beyond the modern concept of a one-dimensional model of time and also of addressing the experiences of cultures that did not share in the experience of modernity in the first place, and thus are not captured by the term post-modernity. It instead encourages thinking about the present as a conjuncture of other, multiple and sometimes conflicting versions of time.[2]

As Peter Osborne argues, contemporaneity is not simply a way to conceptualise the coming together of individuals in time, but it represents a way to conceive of the condition of global networks as a coming together of times:

we do not just live or exist together ‘in time’ with our contemporaries – as if time itself is indifferent to this existing together – but rather the present is increasingly characterized by a coming together of different but equally ‘present’ temporalities or ‘times’, a temporal unity in disjunction, or a disjunctive unity of present times [emphasis in original].[3]

In this special issue authors are invited to address, build on, challenge or offer alternatives to these accounts of time in order to focus a discussion of contemporaneity on media and communication realities. To address the topic of philosophies of time, media and contemporaneity, we seek contribution that may address (but need not necessarily be limited to) the following themes:

Contemporaneity/Post-Modernity/Modernity

Conflict, terror, contemporaneity and media

Anxiety, media and contemporaneity

Authority and contemporaneity

Memorialization and contemporaneity

Media archaeologies of time and temporality

Video games and contemporaneity

Theories of coevalness

Communication, time and the other (revisiting Fabian)

Environmental crisis, media and contemporaneity

Media and marginalization/media and boundaries

Media and historiography (Oral, Print, Digital)

Contemporary art and time, as it relates to questions of globality

Rethinking media histories from transnational perspectives

Conflicting histories and media

Non-linear history and media

Multi-temporality and contemporaneity

Cosmopolitanism, temporalities and media

This special issue of Philosophies will address the task of trying to think through some of the major questions of contemporaneity with an emphasis on the realities of media and communication, including social media, video games, contemporary art, film and television. It is the challenge presented to contributors to begin to investigate the way changes in the media landscape may affect philosophical thought and may offer us new ways to both produce and address the time of the contemporary.

[1] See for instance Terry Smith, “Contemporary Art and Contemporaneity,” Critical Inquiry 32:4 (2006): 681-707 and Peter Osborne, Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophies of Contemporary Art (London and Brooklyn: Verso, 2013).

[2] Juliane Rebentisch, “The Contemporaneity of Contemporary Art,” New German Critique 42:1 (2015): 223-237, pp. 233-234.

[3] Osborne, Anywhere or Not at All (above, n. 34), p. 17.

Dr. Timothy Barker
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • time and media
  • contemporary philosophies of time
  • historiography and media
  • memory and media
  • contemporaneity
  • cosmopolitanism

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
It’s about Time: Film, Video Games, and the Advancement of an Artform
Philosophies 2019, 4(4), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4040056 - 31 Oct 2019
Abstract
Jon Robson and Aaron Meskin have argued that the insights obtained through the philosophical analysis of video games is not specific to video games, but to a larger class of artistic creations they term Self-Involving Interactive Fictions, or SIIFs. But there is at [...] Read more.
Jon Robson and Aaron Meskin have argued that the insights obtained through the philosophical analysis of video games is not specific to video games, but to a larger class of artistic creations they term Self-Involving Interactive Fictions, or SIIFs. But there is at least one aspect of SIIF video games that is philosophically interesting and does not apply to the class of SIIFs as a whole, the ability to represent non-classical time. If SIIF video games are considered to be an extension of the art form of graphic narrative story-telling, the art form dominated by film, then the ability to represent time in in this fashion represents a revolution akin to that of vanishing point perspective in painting. This makes SIIF video games philosophically interesting for both philosophers of film and philosophers of video games. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
Open AccessArticle
Reappraising Braid after a Quantum Theory of Time
Philosophies 2019, 4(4), 55; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4040055 - 01 Oct 2019
Abstract
Braid’s (Jonathan Blow, 2008) time-bending gameplay allows players to engage with a virtual world in which a player’s perceived ‘past’ can be endlessly rewritten, duration extended, and the ludic arrow of time can be reversed. One could assume that as mistakes can [...] Read more.
Braid’s (Jonathan Blow, 2008) time-bending gameplay allows players to engage with a virtual world in which a player’s perceived ‘past’ can be endlessly rewritten, duration extended, and the ludic arrow of time can be reversed. One could assume that as mistakes can simply be undone, in-game actions cease to have consequences. However, the climax of the game’s narrative arc disrupts our assumption of control over these mechanics and encourages players to reflect on the possible moral implications of actions, both in context of the game world and—through careful invocation of real-world scientific experiments—on everyday life. In this paper, I propose that Braid uses gameplay to explore the difficulty of making moral judgements in a world without an objective past. This is, for the most part, achieved through Braid’s utilization of a specific interpretation of quantum theory—in accordance with the game’s lead designer, Jonathan Blow—that “starts to threaten our very existence” by questioning the possibility of a singular, objective, real ‘past’ and the possibility of a definitive account of past actions. I first argue that the game’s mechanics immerse players in a game world inspired by Blow’s understanding of quantum mechanics. Placing an emphasis on certain technical aspects, I outline how the functioning of the game’s central rewind mechanic—although initially seeming to reinforce visions of our reality consistent with C.D. Broad’s ‘growing block’ theory—questions the notion of an objective past and so resonates strongly with both the work of J.A. Wheeler and an agential realist theory of time. With this understanding in place, I go on to analyze the climax of the game, reading it as an exploration of—and challenge to—the role of a presumed objective ‘past’ in understanding the morality of a given situation. Finally, through a reading of the game’s closing moments, I suggest Braid promotes a turn to individual responsibility for agency; Braid, I argue, recommends one accept the continuing existence and changeability of the past within the present while embracing one’s own role in the shared process of constantly remaking reality and history. As a result, well-intentioned actions in the present are framed as more important than a focus on precedent to predict outcomes, making a cautious suggestion on how one might live without reference to an objective existence. Although I highlight some of the wider ramifications of this at the end of this paper, Braid is far from a fully developed ethical system; it stands, however, as an engaging attempt to formulate a comment on time, temporality and morality through interactive media. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
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Open AccessArticle
Time and the Problems of Television: Three Images
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 52; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030052 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
In this paper I look at three images and use them to discuss television and the conditions for the representation of time in the twenty-first century. The first image is from the UK’s Channel 4 news report following the November 2015 terror attacks [...] Read more.
In this paper I look at three images and use them to discuss television and the conditions for the representation of time in the twenty-first century. The first image is from the UK’s Channel 4 news report following the November 2015 terror attacks in Paris. The paper begins by offering a theoretical critique of this televisual image and explores the grounding offered for the representation of fear and the contingent. From here, I explore two images from the experimental beginnings of television, which can be seen to provide the historical and technical conditions for the first image. The paper is media philosophical in method, critically analysing the way television can represent time and events by looking to its technical operation and its history as a technology rooted in solutions to time-based problems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
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Open AccessArticle
The Metonymicity of the Greek Deictic Adverbs εδώ [Here] and εκεί [There] in Politics
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030051 - 20 Aug 2019
Abstract
This paper discusses the uses of the Greek deictic adverbs εδώ [here] and εκεί [there] in the language of politics. The paper draws examples from political speeches which took place in the Hellenic Parliament during 2011 and discussed the financial situation of Greece [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the uses of the Greek deictic adverbs εδώ [here] and εκεί [there] in the language of politics. The paper draws examples from political speeches which took place in the Hellenic Parliament during 2011 and discussed the financial situation of Greece during that time. It is suggested that εδώ [here] and εκεί [there] have a high degree of metonymicity since they express ‘stand for’ relations. It is argued that the deictic adverbs have a referential function since they designate a range of concepts, namely, political parties, financial, political, and social situations, the Hellenic Parliament, political ideology, decisions, etc. It is also stated that the temporal and the spatial denotations of εδώ and εκεί are subject to image schemas. In particular, the paper discusses how the Greek deictic adverbs prompt for the image schemas of containment, part for whole, and centre-periphery and suggests that these types of image schemas have a metonymic basis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
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Open AccessArticle
Hap-Tech Narration and the Postphenomenological Film
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030047 - 14 Aug 2019
Abstract
Within this paper, I explore the look and feel of the subjective point-of-view (POV) shot in narrative cinema and how it presents an awkward and uncomfortable space for the viewer to inhabit. It considers what David Bordwell has called the surrogate body: the [...] Read more.
Within this paper, I explore the look and feel of the subjective point-of-view (POV) shot in narrative cinema and how it presents an awkward and uncomfortable space for the viewer to inhabit. It considers what David Bordwell has called the surrogate body: the concept in which viewers step into the role of an offscreen protagonist. In numerous films, this style invites the spectator to see and feel through the eyes and movement of a particular type of surrogate character, which as I argue, predominantly consists of killers, victims or socially inept characters. The term I give for this particular trait in cinema is hap-tech narration, which is inspired by Laura Marks’ concept of haptic cinema. Unlike Marks’ understanding of haptic which focuses upon sensual beauty, hap-tech narration considers phenomenological uncomfortableness which is considered through Don Ihde’s philosophy of technology. This paper incorporates Ihde’s framework of postphenomenology, which considers how experientiality is changed and filtered through technological devices (which in this analysis will be the technology of the camera and the frame of the screen). Using Ihde’s postphenomenological understanding of human–technology relationships (which this work explores in detail), I consider a range of narrative films that utilise POV camerawork, including: Delmer Daves’ Dark Passage (1947), Michael Powell’s Peeping Tom (1960) and Julian Schnabel’s Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and Butterfly, 2007). Each of these titles present events through the subjective gaze of a killer, victim or socially damaged character. This paper offers a rationale as to why this is the case by addressing POV through the philosophy of Ihde, enabling an understanding of hap-tech narration to be unpacked, in which viewers are placed into corrupted and damaged corporeality through the technological power of the camera. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
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Open AccessArticle
Time Is/Time Was/Time Is Not: David Mitchell and the Resonant Interval
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030046 - 14 Aug 2019
Abstract
Seven weeks before the release of his novel, Slade House (2015), David Mitchell began tweeting as a character, “Bombadil”, from the forthcoming text. The tweets appeared on an account, @I_Bombadil (2015), set up by Mitchell, with the platform affording the author the opportunity [...] Read more.
Seven weeks before the release of his novel, Slade House (2015), David Mitchell began tweeting as a character, “Bombadil”, from the forthcoming text. The tweets appeared on an account, @I_Bombadil (2015), set up by Mitchell, with the platform affording the author the opportunity to extend the character’s narrative arc beyond the pages of the print-published novel and into Twitter’s digital environs. For Mitchell, the boundaries separating literary works are never absolute and the process of repeatedly returning to and referencing prior works, methodically expanding and stretching his corpus by thematically and structurally folding each new work into an extant literary universe, is the central characteristic of his literary practice. What was notable in the case of @I_Bombadil and Slade House, however, was that the connections across and between the works were also connections across and between distinct media environments. This article examines the ways in which the temporal-spatial entanglements between @I_Bombadil and Slade House, characteristic of Mitchell’s retrospective and recursive literary practice, were intensified and complicated as they were further tangled up with the temporal–spatial dynamics of digital and print media respectively. By utilising Marshall McLuhan’s media studies, and particularly his concept of the “resonant interval”—the borderline between “acoustic” and “visual” space produced in the dialogue between electronic (digital) and print media—as a means of articulating the dialogic double-space in between @I_Bombadil and Slade House, this article addresses the works as a symbiotic product of both literary technique and materialist media operability, adopting a nuanced, media-oriented perspective that fully engages with the temporal affordances of the Twitter platform as an inextricable aspect of the fundamentally temporal-spatial dynamics of Mitchell’s “resonant” literary practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
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Open AccessArticle
Mediality, Temporality, Social Cognition, and Evolution
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030044 - 01 Aug 2019
Abstract
In the literature of Media Studies, the word mediality has emerged as an expression of the concern about the specificity of media and their link to time, experience, technology and social change. However, mediality is not yet a concept, since the description of [...] Read more.
In the literature of Media Studies, the word mediality has emerged as an expression of the concern about the specificity of media and their link to time, experience, technology and social change. However, mediality is not yet a concept, since the description of the function of media as mediation and transmission has become an obstacle to achieve further developments. In light of these remarks, this paper proposes a theoretical arrangement that gives meaning to mediality by connecting the word into a network of concepts, such as social cognition, evolution, temporality, synchronization and double closure. In order to achieve this goal, the author designs a theoretical apparatus consisting of the self-referential coupling between N. Luhmann’s systems theory, H. von Foerster’s second order cybernetics, R. Harris’ integration linguistics, and A. Clark’s extended cognition. A consistent integration and interpretation of the sketched theory, allows us to draw the conclusion that in order to comprehend mediality, it is crucial to understand the relationship between information, double closure, social cognition and evolution, while questions regarding human cognition do not be to be involved; and if that should be the case, research should depart from the problem of the structural coupling between human and social cognition. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
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Open AccessArticle
Philosophy in the Artworld: Some Recent Theories of Contemporary Art
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030037 - 12 Jul 2019
Abstract
“The contemporary” is a phrase in frequent use in artworld discourse as a placeholder term for broader, world-picturing concepts such as “the contemporary condition” or “contemporaneity”. Brief references to key texts by philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Rancière, and Peter Osborne often [...] Read more.
“The contemporary” is a phrase in frequent use in artworld discourse as a placeholder term for broader, world-picturing concepts such as “the contemporary condition” or “contemporaneity”. Brief references to key texts by philosophers such as Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Rancière, and Peter Osborne often tend to suffice as indicating the outer limits of theoretical discussion. In an attempt to add some depth to the discourse, this paper outlines my approach to these questions, then explores in some detail what these three theorists have had to say in recent years about contemporaneity in general and contemporary art in particular, and about the links between both. It also examines key essays by Jean-Luc Nancy, Néstor García Canclini, as well as the artist-theorist Jean-Phillipe Antoine, each of whom have contributed significantly to these debates. The analysis moves from Agamben’s poetic evocation of “contemporariness” as a Nietzschean experience of “untimeliness” in relation to one’s times, through Nancy’s emphasis on art’s constant recursion to its origins, Rancière’s attribution of dissensus to the current regime of art, Osborne’s insistence on contemporary art’s “post-conceptual” character, to Canclini’s preference for a “post-autonomous” art, which captures the world at the point of its coming into being. I conclude by echoing Antoine’s call for artists and others to think historically, to “knit together a specific variety of times”, a task that is especially pressing when presentist immanence strives to encompasses everything. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
Open AccessArticle
The Quale of Time
Philosophies 2019, 4(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4020016 - 11 Apr 2019
Abstract
Time is one of the greatest subjects of interest to the disciplines of both Science and Philosophy, being seen to have a greater importance in the workings of reality than other entities. In this paper, a phenomenological analysis of time based on the [...] Read more.
Time is one of the greatest subjects of interest to the disciplines of both Science and Philosophy, being seen to have a greater importance in the workings of reality than other entities. In this paper, a phenomenological analysis of time based on the general workings of the emergent structure of consciousness will be done, and time will be shown to be no different than any other qualia. It will be shown that, like any other qualia, time is an emergent level of consciousness, manifesting all the properties of emergence: inheritance of qualities from the previous levels, top-down influence in levels received from the higher levels and top-down influence in levels impressed on the lower levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
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