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Time after time: William Kentridge's Heterochronies

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/10/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Angelaki: Journal of Theoretical Humanities
Issue number5
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)97-112
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/09/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This essay explores South African artist William Kentridge’s multimedia installation The Refusal of Time, first exhibited at documenta (13) in 2012. In the material surrounding this installation, Kentridge and Peter Galison interrogate the history of time’s material invention as a European system of imperial domination, one that gathered the planet itself into a homogeneous regime of sense. The installation explores the manifold workings of this systematised time in a dizzying array of arenas (colonialism, labour, industry, cinema, dance, quantum physics). Time emerges materially via rhythmic inter- and intra-actions mediated by power, but the installation also draws on a history of anticolonial revolt against time and formally de-naturalises time, releasing heterochronic energies and disrupting habituated experiences of time’s homogeneous neutrality. Via readings of Kentridge, Jacques Rancière, Pheng Cheah, and the contemporary politics of time, I approach a mode of heterochronic thought (encompassing theory, art, and politics) that insists upon time as potentialising force.