The Speculative Time Complex

Malik, Suhail. 2016. The Speculative Time Complex. In: Suhail Malik and Armen Avanessian, eds. The Time Complex: Postcontemporary. Miami, Florida: [NAME], pp. 7-56. ISBN 9780984056616 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

The basic thesis of the post-contemporary is that time is changing. We are not just living in a new time or accelerated time, but time itself—the direction of time—has changed. We no longer have a linear time, in the sense of the past being followed by the present and then the future. It’s rather the other way around: the future happens before the present, time arrives from the future.
The main reason for the speculative reorganization of time is the complexity and scale of social organization today. If the leading conditions of complex societies are systems, infrastructures and networks rather than individual human agents, human experience loses its primacy, as do the semantics and politics based on it. Correspondingly, the present as the primary category of human experience—in its biological sentience at least—which has been the basis for both the understanding of time and of what time is (or, at least, what it is presumed to be), also loses its priority in favor of what we could call a time-complex.

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Book Section

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Illustrations by Andreas Tôpfer

First appeared as Special Issue on the DIs website
Part of Berlin Bienniale of Contemporary Art, 2016

Translated in German (First print publication), French, Polish, Italian, Chinese


Futurity, Modernity, Post-Modernism, time-order, speculative time complex

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5 May 2016Published Online
10 September 2016Published

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Date Deposited:

23 Oct 2017 10:52

Last Modified:

03 Feb 2021 16:10


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