Time and History

Ortwin de Graef with Nick Cave (c) Rob Stevens
Some thoughts from Ortwin de Graef's intro to the presentation of the Passa Porta Seminar on The Time of the Author at Flagey (12 March 2014)

Humans are singularly touched by time — haunted in the present by echoes from the future recalling traces of the past. The medium of that haunting is not the flow of life but the teletechnological stutter of symbols stitching stuff into history.

What distinguishes and indeed divorces history from the uninterrupted flow of life is the crisis of decision: the choice for a future that cannot be predicted as an extension of the present, yet which depends on the performance of this choice as its condition of possibility.

History is made by humans doing all those things humans do — which is also always to say it is made, and made up, by the histor, the Greek term for “one who judges, a wise person” — ultimately “one who sees,” but then specifically one who sees what is not available as evidence, what is more of the order of the idea and has to be written down to come into being. Which is also to say that history belongs to the province of the author giving it time...

No comments: