Joint seminar InSync and RITMO: Media, rhythms and synchronization


13.15 - 13.30 Brief presentations of the projects and participants

13.30 - 14.15 Bruno Laeng: Where are the months? Images of circular time in a large online sample

14.25 - 15.10 Lucian Hölscher: Time clotting in temporal figures

15.20 - 16.05 Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen: Musical Fragmentation and Dual Time Planes

16.15 - 17.00 Espen Ytreberg: Possible rhythms of mediated national imaginaries


Ragnhild Brøvig-Hanssen: Musical Fragmentation and Dual Time Planes

This paper, which presents work in progress, discusses examples from popular music that embrace the aesthetics of musical fragmentation. I discuss examples from glitch, cut-and-paste, and sample-based music that all deconstruct what Jan Alber (2010) calls “mimetic notions of time.” I argue that the aesthetics of this music to a large extent relies on the listener’s conceptions of two or more simultaneous “time planes”––the experienced now and the actual or imagined past. While processes of naturalization often happen after repeated listening, some aspects of music seem to defy such processes and instead introduce, and cultivate, a feeling of ambiguity regarding unnatural and natural narratives.


Lucian Hölscher: Time clotting in temporal figures

In the still ongoing dispute in the human sciences about the nature of time (whether time is inherent in or independent from empirical objects), it seems to be the most productive strategy to think of time in both ways, i.e. in terms of abstract mathematical time (opening the quantitative dimension of temporal measurement) AND in terms of concrete embodied time (opening the qualitative dimension of communication between different temporal structures or “regimes”).  For discussing the relation between these two natures of time several approaches can be applied, including historical, sociological, anthropological and theological approaches. Focussing on the concept of synchronicity our research group prefers pragmatic approaches in all of them, i.e. starting from the hypotheses that time is produced by actions. But in doing so we look for common features, a theoretical framework, for which I propose to elaborate the concept of ‘time figures’: Since time gets a social form only in repetitive actions (rhythms), that constitute social institutions, ‘régimes’ and social and mental conventions, time seems to ‘clot’ in temporal figures, that can be represented in geometrical forms (for example the circle, the arc, the increasing line or departing and approaching arrows). It is our ambition to explore how these time figures ‘behave’, when they are confronted to one another.


Bruno Laeng: Where are the months? Images of circular time in a large online sample

People appear to think about time by mentally imaging it in some spatial form,br or as 'spacetime'. In an online survey, 76,922 Norwegian individuals positioned two dots corresponding to the months of December and March on what they imagined to be their appropriate places on a circle. Of these, 39,797 respondents continued to fill out an online questionnaire probing their mental images related to the ‘year’ concept and 75% of them “saw” the months unfolding in a clockwise direction versus 19% in a counter clockwise fashion.  A majority (70%) spontaneously imagined the year as a ‘circle’, but the rest as other shapes (e.g., ellipses and spirals, lines and squares, idiosyncratic or synaesthetic spatial forms). Thus, some spatial models may be preferred when thinking about time in a specific way: when time is conceived as a process with an abrupt beginning and an irrevocable end, a mental line may work best; when thinking about temporal events as recursive or eternally returning, the right form of image seem to be a ring, wheel, or circle.


Espen Ytreberg: Possible rhythms of mediated national imaginaries

Nations require a sense of simultaneity: this argument has been perhaps the most influential case of a temporal category being recruited to explain the formation and continuation of collectivities on a societal macro-scale. A rough gloss on the argument would be to say that the sense of belonging to something like a nation has depended historically on an experience of presence in absence. Citizens scattered across the land have felt themselves to be part of one nation because they are audiences experiencing the same media output together. In media and cultural theory, several media have been recruited in the role of national unifier: In particular, print media have been linked by Benedict Anderson to the rise of national imagined communities in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In the presentation I want to examine the link between simultaneity and nation, using Anderson's Imaginary Communities as a starting point. I will argue that his approach, although highly suggestive, is also analytically rather provisional and - most importantly - highly synchronically oriented. It hinges on a notion of the "meanwhile" that is a "bridge across time", understood as a shared moment that is simultaneous, and that becomes instantaneous with live broadcasting. It seems to me that mediated national imaginaries also have diachronic dimensions, and I want provisionally to explore these as having rhythmic properties. Put differently, the ambition is to explore both synchronic and diachronic/rhythmic elements of mediated synchronisation.


Published Apr. 5, 2019 2:19 PM - Last modified May 9, 2019 9:07 PM