We admire, and so mimic, the spirit of the watchseller Hsiao Kang, from Tsai-Ming Liang’s 2001 film What Time is it There?, who obsessively switches the public clocks of Taipei to Paris time as a longing gesture for a girl that he barely knows—but to whom he sold the watch off his wrist before she moved to Paris. Hsiao Kang twice attempts to affect, via its index, the properties of time that create loss. In the process, his actions create a (cinematically) tangible experience of the theoretically-synchronous conjunction of times that contemporaneity aspires to1.

Our third issue looks at the facets of this impossible contemporary conjunction-object that concern the production and experience of time—the distinctions, struggles, myths and artifices generated by the apparent movement of the hyperplane that divides the past and future.

Watch day turn to night as men drive 4WDs up and down the rough coast of Tel Aviv in Yael Bartana’s Kings of the Hill. A competition with cocky socialisation in place of measured rules or outcomes, the cars’ wheels nonetheless spin slowly to deal with the terrain. In a similar mode, Kim Brockett evaluates kairological unproductivity-as-resistance via the work of Mladen Stilinović in her piece, Nothing Doing.

Before continuing, you might set your watch to Toril Johannesen’s Mean Time, an anthropogenic time frame that moves at the rate of global work on the internet. Sarinah Masukor, in Possible s(t)//:imulation, re-evaluates the potential for autonomous subjectivity within the rhythm of cybertime. Marina Vishmidt looks through the work of YOUNG-HAE CHANG HEAVY INDUSTRIES to articulate the experience of online time that shapes us into human resources. (We’d make a formal recommendation in writing that you visit the big people and small airports of YHCHI’s Sydny 5000, or to the poetic-linguistic interface of Chris Mann’s Technology of Questions while you’re at it.)

Louisa King critiques the geological chronology of the Anthropocene, proposes an incarnation of the concept that acknowledges the ethical responsibility within the proposed mixture of human and geological scales. Amelia Barikin outlines the ‘magical science’ of Neïl Beloufa’s Kempinski, an unscripted film of people in Mali talking about the future as if it were the present.

Others, such as Avni Dauti, inscribe their practices in relation to the past in order to fix their position within the contemporary—we are in constant dialogue with history. The relations between this moment of historical emergence and the moment of contemporary inscription are explored in Damiano Bertoli’s Associates. Meanwhile, Tim Alves explores, by way of the resurfacing of the so-called history war in Australia, the slippery upheaval of these stacked layers of historical perspective within a fixed periodisation.

Henna-Riikka Halonen’s The Bath House re-animates the Soviet playwright Mayakovksy’s notion of apocalyptic time in a staging of his play of the same name, this time in a bureaucratically-damned Commonwealth pool in Edinburgh. And from a similarly submerged perspective, A Constructed World’s rebus-puzzle eels sing and speak to us their understanding of contemporary art.

Hhhaaappppppyyy rrreeeaaadddiiinnnggg.

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