Time

Memos

Hey y’all. Sorry for the delayed post. But I promise I was diligently tracking my outside time/time outside. Before I share my tracking, a few words of analysis, etc.

Heeeey errybody! For our week-long time-tracking endeavor I will be tracking the amount of time that I spend outside. I struggle pretty mightily with seasonal affective disorder; now that we have fallen back, so to speak, I think it will be useful for me to soak up the Vitamin D and whatnot. So that is what I am going to track. I’m interested in seeing how being more mindful about my time outside impacts how I experience time throughout the rest of the day. So, here goes! See y’all in a week!

I tracked my music consumption and exposure for a day. As I kind of suspected (but didn’t want to believe), it’s too big of a task. Brainstorming a new week long time project. Here’s my data…

I track a lot of things. I talk to myself. I have lists. Upon lists. I have calendars with tasks and dates. I love it. I love planning, even more so than executing, at times. Tetrising schedules together. Travel arrangements. Organizing and chunking time to make large projects manageable. It’s probably my favorite thing. In finding something to track for a week, or a way to reorganize my time, or redirecting my attention to other aspects of my life as they manifest temporally, or whatever, am I excited to track something that might be suited to our goals as a team, or what might be fun to represent visually, or what might be interesting to alter, or what I already do all the time and I’m not considering trackable.

Gertrude Stein’s notion of “syncopated time” in theatrical performance, defined as a “complicated tangle of reading, hearing, and viewing without determination of priority,” is used by Rebecca Schneider to describe the atemporality, or alt-temporality, implicit in Civil War reenactments (Performing Remains: Art and War in Times of Theatrical Reenactment, 92). I can’t find a copy of the lecture in which Stein outlined this theory. Eventually I will, and then I’ll have more to say. There is an amazing time-travel aspect to reenactment events, but a weird confrontation of divisive and seemingly “out of time” beliefs and expressions.

This week I’ve been thinking about time and the built environment. (In fact, given last week’s post, I think I might be doing a three-week series on time and materiality of sorts, but don’t hold me accountable to this. We’ll see next week whether or not this turns out to be true.) Talking with Lydia and others about representing go-go got me thinking about how go-go is/was written into the buildings and built environment of U Street in DC. I find this particularly interesting in large part because I have called DC home for most of my life. I’m familiar with the history and presence of go-go and attuned to the rapid-fire pace of gentrification occurring presently. The historically Black U Street area–home to many a go-go show/club/etc.–has become one of the most expensive and trendiest places to see and be seen and is inhabited by an ever-growing number of white yuppie/hipsters. I should know as I–a white, not-quite yuppie/hipster–moved back to DC and lived not too far from U Street in the time between undergrad and grad school. Once a thriving Black commercial district, the area became infamous across the country when Black Americans took to the streets following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4th, 1968. Despite all that occurred, the neighborhood remained an important cultural space for Black Washingtonians, if less financially secure. When Lydia brought up go-go and asked us to consider how to represent this music and this moment in time ethically my mind immediately went to the spaces in which go-go was performed and experienced. So many of the clubs were shut down by authorities in DC because of the purported (and sometimes real) violence that occurred within them. But these shutdowns felt a lot more like concern over congregations of Black folk of various socioeconomic classes and the radical implications that might have for the city and beyond than concern over “violence.” Decades after go-go was kicked out of the city (very incompletely–it might be more accurate to say that go-go-supporting institutions were kicked out of the city), many Black people themselves were being kicked out of the city, through tax liens and rising property taxes and cost of living, etc., paving the way for gentrification. Now, the neighborhood contains an architectural/historical mixture of buildings, some of which date to the hey-day of U Street and others of which are very modern and expensive-looking, signs of the changing demographics of the neighborhood.

So. I’m going to somewhat breathlessly throw some thoughts out there about time and the body. The other day I was putting on mascara and thinking about how women use makeup to alter the way that time appears on their bodies. Young girls often apply makeup to appear older, whether for fun or to gain access things reserved for older girls, or both (or neither). Then at a certain age, women learn from a variety of sources that they are supposed to apply cremes and makeup in order to stop the appearance of aging on the face and body. Wrinkles and laugh-lines show on our faces, gray hairs pop up, and the beauty industry wants us to stop it (with their help). Going down this particular rabbit hole got me thinking about time as a force which exerts pressure on us with particular somatic effects. The manifestation of this force, of course, varies from person to person and across racial/gender/class/etc. lines. For example, there have been many studies on poverty and its effect on the body. The stressors of poverty have been correlated to faster aging, shorter life expectancies, and a host of developmental differences/concerns. How then, do we represent time as an external force and stay attuned to the different force with which a particular unit of time may effect a given person or group of persons?

So I’ve been thinking a lot about who tells history–or in other words who gets to determine what the passage of time means–and the relationship between time and justice/oppression. Who gets to have a history and therefore a claim to past time. What’s the relationship between the past, the present, the future, and the telling of history. How does time relate to past/present/future? Questions I’m thinking of with these sketches.

In his 2014 article for the Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America, Pervez Rizvi provides what his title promises “Stemmata for Shakespeare Texts: A Suggested New Form” (PBSA 108:1 (2014): 97-106). He argues that previous work on stemmatics, forming a genealogical tree of revisions of texts, ignores that some revisions happen to the same object. In other words, that within the history of the text as a particular sequence of words, there are embedded histories of physical objects and that these histories of physical objects are tied to multiple moments in the life of the text.

I’ve been reading a number of articles lately about the experience of time in chronically and terminally ill persons. Several of them mention diabetes as an illness that typifies the way in which chronic illnesses can affect time perception through requiring a structuring of the day around bodily needs and the application of technologies to manage the body/self.

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