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Hopeful chronopolitics: contemporary art and ethnography 
Melanie Janet Sindelar (Central European University)
Jennifer Clarke (Gray's School of Art, Robert Gordon University)
Maxime Le Calvé (Humboldt University in Berlin, ExC Matters of Activity)
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6 College Park (6CP), 0G/007
Tuesday 26 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel investigates how artistic projects engage hopeful chronopolitics – practices and dynamics that employ specific time-frames to engage hopeful imaginations of the present and future – and thereby navigate contentious debates that are hegemonically monitored by different forces.

Long Abstract:

This panel investigates the role of contemporary art in constructing and deconstructing hopeful chronopolitics. Hopeful chronopolitics are artistic practices that employ specific time-frames to engage hopeful imaginations of the present or future. They distinguish themselves from the “future perfect” deployed in modernist discourses through the extent of their envisioned social and ecological transformation, which might clash fundamentally with “hopeful” imaginations produced by the neoliberal world economy. In hopeful chronopolitics, artists engage topics such as urban planning, ecological emergencies, and bodily technologies, fusing seemingly discrete concerns through different temporalities, confusing current conditions through alternative imaginations of the future. Artistic engagement is essential since normative claims on the future have become increasingly important commodities, as Kodwo Eshun would argue, and have begun to function as sci-fi capital, as Mark Fisher termed it.

This panel, therefore, approaches contemporary art as a co-producer of imagined futures on national, regional, or global scales – a radical tool that can provide counter-narratives to normative imaginations. We invite papers that discuss how artists navigate the contentious debate of which futures are desirable or hoped for and how this debate is hegemonically monitored by different forces and actors, including art markets and institutional policies. The panel seeks ethnographically-grounded contributions addressing artistic projects that engage the future, are part of futuristic movements (Afrofuturism, Sinofuturism, etc.), or related art-science endeavours. One aim is to critically reflect on what anthropology can contribute to this inquiry, given the long-sustained discussion of chronopolitics in art-historiographical models of the contemporary.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Tuesday 26 July, 2022, -