Contemporary Conditions are Badly Known

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Rather than discuss post-media conditions as such, the notion of ‘contemporary conditions’ is preferred to indicate the characteristic features of the historical present. The argument is that rather than concentrate on futures or whether something is sustainable, new or sufficiently different, the notion of the contemporary poses the question of when the present of a particular work begins and ends. Peter Osborne’s point is that the convergence and mutual conditioning of periodizations of art and the social relations of art have their roots in more general economic and socio-technological processes that makes contemporary art possible, in the sense of an ‘art of contemporaneity’. “Contemporary art is badly known”, as he puts it. Thus ‘contemporaneity’ begins to describe the more complex and layered problem of different kinds of time existing simultaneously across different localities. Yet despite the sophistication of the approach, the discussion of technology is hardly developed at all. This paper aims to address contemporary conditions in terms of the significant role of contemporary media and computational technologies that further complicate the notion of the historical present and what constitutes contemporary art and the deep structures of temporality that render our present the way it is. The experience of time is necessarily a political struggle and importantly different epistemological registers open up further possibilities for transformation at different scales of operation.

Full bibliographic details are as follows: Renewable Futures: Art, Science and Society in the Post-Media Age, Acoustic Space 16, eds. Rasa Smite, Raitis Smits, Armin Medosch, Riga: Center for New Media Culture RIXC in collaboration with Art Research Laboratory, Leipaja University, Riga. ISSN 1407-2858 / ISBN 978-9934-8434-6-4
Original languageEnglish
JournalAcoustic Space
Pages (from-to)93-100
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2017
EventOpen Fields: RIXC Art Science Festival 2016 - The National Library of Latvia, Riga, Latvia
Duration: 29 Sept 20161 Oct 2016


ConferenceOpen Fields
LocationThe National Library of Latvia
Internet address


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  • The Contemporary Condition

    Lund, J., Cox, G., Jepsen, C. J., Iversen, A. K. & Gfader, V.


    Project: Research

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