Time’s Habits & Practising Relaxation
This lecture presents the notion of practising, as a mode which, by reinflecting habit via an intentional repetition, gives access to registers of temporality beyond that of the dominant mode of the present. Habit maroons us in a time that is preoccupied with a useful, predictable future. It precludes the wholly new.
As noted by Henri Bergson, and extended by Gilles Deleuze, our inhabiting of the present involves the modes of habitual response, recognition and representation (where representation means "the delimitation and framing of objects" rather than "an idea in the mind or brain") (Al-Saji, 2004: 219-220). Our representational world, then, is a smaller, narrower one, where we tend to exclude polyphony and unfamiliar affective registers, based on what would seem immediately useful to the present, utilitarian body.
This paper will offer a concise account of a theory of Practising, and then focus on the role of relaxation, as its third criterion. Relaxation, as a very specific attitude and approach to behaviour, acts as a key to accessing other modes of time: the pure past of Bergson; and the future at which he and Nietzsche (after Deleuze) hint. Thanks to relaxation's role in practising, the practitioner -- whether artist, activist, lover or inventor of concepts -- may welcome unrecognisable modes and affections, and include longings other than neoliberalised agendas. Through this, it is possible to invite more of the world and its many beings than habitual perception and a flattened present would otherwise allow.
Dr. Antonia Pont (Deakin University, Australia)
Amsterdam University College
Science Park 113, 1098XG Amsterdam
|Convenor:||Dr. Alexandra Brown|