Xenotemporality: New Understandings of Non-human Time and their Impact for the Anthropocene
University of Westminster
Year of enrolment: 2019
As an artist, writer and researcher, I have been interested in how time is understood outside of human experience across a range of disciplines including art, design, physics, geology and environmental science. My thesis will employ practice-based research using time-based media and key ideas developed in Xenofeminism (XF) to explore conceptions of time outside human experience as it relates to the anthropocene (Chakrabarty 2018).
Xenofeminism-A Politics for Alienation is a manifesto written in 2015 and published by Verso in 2018 (currently translated into 12 languages) by the working group Laboria Cuboniks of which I am a founding member. It proposes a feminism that embraces reason, technology and complexity, and claims alienation as a productive force ‘to generate new worlds’. I now propose to relate alienation as established by XF to non-anthropometric time, developing the idea of Xenotemoporality (XT). The disciplines examining objective time of particular interest are theoretical physics and computer science. The development of XT as a concept will underpin the primary argument of the thesis: that environmental changes over very long durations necessitates a shift in how humans perceive ourselves in relation to time.
The proposal draws on my experience of producing artistic projects for international exhibitions, publishing papers and articles in academic journals, and will take advantage of the opportunity I have been given to undertake research at leading scientific institutions including CERN and, if successful with this proposal, also the Perimeter Institute and NOAA. This research will include interviews with leading figures in theoretical physics and planetary science. Through the PhD I will generate new artistic and academic work, that will address perceptions of how art is being shaped — and can contribute to shaping — an urgent need to think time differently in view of long-term environmental change.