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new media & experimental art days

empty time manifest

Our society attaches no value to empty time, i.e. time in which nothing meaningful seems to be done and in which we are not considered productive. We have to constantly function and self-optimize, while at the same time exposing ourselves to a limitless and ever faster flow of information. Nothing is left to chance in our practicing and feeding into the rhythm of the global infrastructure and production structure. Even sleep, for a long time the only uncontrollable retreat from the constraints of capitalism, is increasingly becoming a fairy tale from times long past.

Even the farming families in the Bschlabertal valley did not have an empty time in the past centuries. Their time in the high valley was exhaustively filled with labor-intensive days, with the traditional weekly and annual cycles. It was only with the onset of mechanization, mobility, gainful employment and the accompanying emigration in the second half of the last century that the valley became increasingly empty - due to people leaving their homes, giving up traditional work and communication spaces and saving working time that was once essential for survival.

Art has always represented a border zone in life that invites chance, decay and emptiness. Exposure to empty time can become a source of inspiration. Becoming empty can mean: letting go, interrupting, objecting, dissolving, reversing. Empty time can be understood as a suspension of work in order to try out a different everyday life, or a suspension of everyday life in order to try out a different work.

Can empty time open up a space for trying out new forms of (care, art, etc.) activities and ways of relating? Can empty time do without a goal? Hasn't empty time always been full of fragments of our human history? How can empty time and empty space in the Bschlab Valley correspond with each other? And am I personally afraid of empty time?

Empty: original meaning from the sphere of agriculture: cleared, containing nothing, harvested.
Time: Old High German: to divide, to separate.

Andreas Pronegg
Eva von Redecker: Revolution for Life
Walter Benjamin: Philosophy of the New Forms of Protest
On the Concept of History