Nov. 2022
Ruta Xarxaprod 1/5
by mafe moscoso

Imagining a Time-based Ecology – Paying Attention


If we pay attention, that is, attend to what we take for granted without question; we may discover that sometimes it actually does us good to stop, open the window, and let the sunshine and the fresh air in. Observe carefully. Now, paying attention is not easy, especially when it comes to looking at complex environments (institutions, museums, art centres, production spaces) which are part of a wider network that opens up courses of action but that also defines and is defined by very clear limits with regard to what we consider to be possible and, consequently, what is not. In theory, a production centre is a space that holds human and material resources aimed at accompanying and facilitating the development of creative processes, offering the conditions to generate tools that can generate worlds – taking care of sensitivity. However, we must not forget that production spaces are also focused towards, on the one hand, establishing outward links (which are related to previous ideas about what is understood as “outward”) and, on the other hand, achieving their own sustainability. And both concerns are often linked, in one way or another, to event production. It is customary, for example, to assume that production yields results, namely, the generation of events (exhibitions, workshops, conferences, work in progress open days, presentations, etc.), which is not always compatible with the individual paces of artistic creation.

What relationships do we establish between artistic creation and production? What do we mean when we talk about production in our own environments? What do we understand as producing? Is there really an inward and an outward? Do we have a fixed idea about who produces and who doesn’t? Have we taken for granted that production is associated with practices, and practices with results? What do we understand as results? These are some of the questions that I believe might be useful (or perhaps even useless) to revisit issues arising from practices that may be limited, among other things, by the imposition of a fixed idea of temporality, that is, what we perceive as the rhythms of life, which tend to be subject to the imperative of being productive, and consequently, overproduction.

If the dominant temporality in capitalism is hyper-activity which takes the form of a dispersion that, as Byung Chul-Han explains, is traversed by acceleration or dyssynchrony, could one therefore argue that overproduction is a symptom of a shared temporal disorder? Furthermore, overproduction is linked to saturation (filling or occupying something to the limit of its capacity), which, instead of opening up, closes the possibilities for thinking, and therefore perhaps also for imagining artistic creative processes that are accommodated in contexts such as production spaces.

Therefore, is it not so much a question of fighting against the dominant temporality, since it could rather encourage saturation, but of being able to generate the conditions for imagining ways to accommodate a temporal diversity? Indeed, if it is true that the dominant temporality is hyper-activity, it is also true that it coexists with other cycles, fluctuations, rhythms and modes of the passage of time. So, perhaps we should pay attention to temporal ecology, in other words, the diversity of time frames that coexist in the same space.

But what is the point of paying attention to temporality in a production centre? Perhaps the point of shifting our perspective is something that needs to be born from the desire to assume that every space always has something indeterminate about it, and that it is the starting points, our given assumptions, that need to be carefully observed in order to delve into and, perhaps, find the cracks. So, the question of production cannot be considered, at least from my perspective, without questioning what we think about time.

To observe ourselves consists in going beyond the frame of thought that repeats itself, by establishing questions capable of opening the imagination towards other, perhaps as yet unimaginable, paths. To investigate beyond the given framework properly, is to observe properly and to observe properly, is to think beyond the given framework. In other words, it is a question of working on thinking about what thoughts think our thinking (Donna Haraway’s invitation) because through the cracks we can glimpse something that throbs but is often invisible, connected to the possibilities of composing time-based practices that create time-based practices. For if we understand that time-based practices are interwoven by relationships that create relationships, then other pathways to acknowledging a diversity of how time passes through a same space can open up before us.

Text by mafe moscoso in collaboration with GRAF. mafe, born in the banana republic, works in the entanglements between writing, ethnography and art.

This November took place the open days of the Xarxa d’Espais de Producció i Creació de Catalunya (Xarxaprod), during which various member organisations opened their doors, organising activities to make their spaces and contexts known. From GRAF we join in with the production of five GRAF Routes, which on this occasion take the form of reflective texts that focus on different themes linked to the centres of the network, from the point of view of five agents from the arts and other fields: mafe moscoso (treballa en entorns entre escriptura, etnografia i art), Helen Torres (sociòloga, traductora i educadora), Bàrbara Sánchez Barroso (artista, feminista i amant dels llibres), Rita Andreu (comissària, gestora cultural i realitzadora audiovisual) i l’equip GRAF. In each Route we link one of the texts with a group of Xarxaprod spaces, suggesting affinities between them.

Translation of the text into English by Victoria Macarte