Standstill: Scenes of Stasis and Latency
The research project examines the way two highly comprehensive phenomena of aesthetic intrinsic-time (ästhetische Eigenzeit) – stasis and latency – function within the visual and performative arts of the 20th and 21st centuries. The project aims to clarify how in modernity, stagings of standstill become capable of reflecting and disrupting normative regimes of time. In contrast to current (self-)determinations of modern time as endless progression, as exact timing or technical acceleration, this research project seeks to give substance to a different discourse on time, which points to the interruption, the stopping and pausing as means of a critical almost utopian search for heightened presence. The standstill should not be conceived as a simple negation, but rather as a reversible figure, similar to a pendulum, which, in its highest amplitude takes a hold and anticipates its future movement.
The specifically artistic strategies of intensifying the present through moments of standstill will be analyzed in three perspectives: such as interruptions of action in action art and performance, as decontextualization and intrinsic time of material, and as the relation of social stagnation and its depiction in filmic artefacts.
We suggest to conceive this standstill as a double movement, both pausing and anticipating. Within standstill, the standing is completed by latency as an invisible movement, something, which is effective, but not (yet) apparent. It is the implicit part of each present. The concept of latency indicates that – next to the time that counts, the time in which something is perceived and in which something happens – another time exists, a time which is held invisible because otherwise the contingency and the violence of the current temporal regime would become visible. However, in scenes of standstill – that is our hypothesis – the present divides itself: sequences and patterns lose their self-evidence, something not yet (or any longer) manifest gains shape. In reverse, within the intensification of presence, the alterability of latency can be experienced. Especially in modernity you can find aesthetic strategies which make latency visible, which allow latency to emerge and take effect or which use the concept of latency to define or dissolute the present. The research project investigates the relation of stasis and latency regarding three perspectives: action, material, perception.