The Sway of May
It is already May – nature slowly awakens in Iceland, trees and bushes revealing their green and diffusing pheromones. After spending most of the winter in Iceland this time around, I have an even deeper experience of the rather extreme seasonality of being that exists here with the long darkness making the world so inaccessible until the light returns growing rapidly toward midsummer when the almost ever-present sun creates this unique sense of possibility.
It’s the third May of this PhD research project and by now I am vanishing in the tunnels of writing, living with a deep focus that is both utter pleasure and terror. The complexity of bringing together all the threads that have accumulated throughout this research makes it hard for me to even write a small blog post. It is all about containment, creating containers for arguments to take shape, and containing the messiness of thinking in one’s own body-mind. It’s a peculiar way of existing and makes time fly like it never has for me.
The temporalities and experiences of time in the past 2 years have been multiple. The constant travel comes with switching between rhythms, temporalities, and ecologies. Demanding to situate oneself in pandemic time, volcano eruption time, island time, study-isolation time, summertime, timeless time, solitude time, home-sick time.
One of my thesis chapters deals with the critique of linear time and the pressures of growth-driven acceleration. I am currently reading T.J. Demos’ recently published Radical Futurisms. (2023). There he writes that time itself needs to be politicized and that “the collective and international momentum around futurist imaginaries responds no doubt, to the numbing desperation that’s deeply felt and widely perceived today in the face of disastrous history and the relentless ongoingness of racial and colonial capitalism” (Demos 2023: 26).
The overwhelming pace of capitalism, technological innovation, as well as political and social desynchronization diminishes the sense of possibility of life’s future, that the month of May represents with its light and nature’s rebirth in northern hemisphere. Politicizing time therefore seems to be connected to reclaiming this possibility that Demos localizes as emergent from “traditions of the oppressed, such as Indigenous, Black, multispecies, queer, anti-capitalist” (ibid: 9).
I am pondering on the role of the body in reclaiming the sense of life’s abundant possibilities. Writing about Emerging Livable Futures, as I do, comes not only with the analysis of aesthetic practices but with an embodied self-empirical study, especially on how I experience time. In my last post I wrote about how I use Feldenkrais sequences to ground myself in sensorial awareness for finding ease in the weaving together that writing feels like for me. Bringing attention to bodily sensation slows down the rollercoaster that a busy, over-activated mind can be like. Therefore, while everything sprouts towards the light, I find myself lying on the floor, slowing down time.
Demos, T.J. (2023) Radical Futurisms: Ecologies of Collapse, Chronopolitics, and Justice-to-Come. Sternberg Press.