Joint Session with Steen
and Bent
Contemporaneities
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
Paul Virilio’s Two
Perspectives



The perspective of
real time
Tele-contact
Reaching and
feeling at a distance
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture


The perspective of
real space
Seeing and hearing
at a distance
Contemporaneities
The perspective of real
space
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
The fifth dimension = the
perspective of real time (?) Picasso,
Femme a la montre (1932)
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
The concept of ”loss of orientation
regarding alterity (the other)”

Some Uses of ”contemporary”
– Institute of Contemporary Art
– Contemporary Magazine
– Contemporary Writers
– The Centre for Contemporary British
History
– Terry Eagleton
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
The Institute of
Contemporary Art

Key words:
– Artistic products, works of art.
– New
– Exploration
– Shape
– Adventure
– Tomorrow
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
The Institute of
Contemporary Art

“4. a. Modern; of or characteristic
of the present period; esp. up-todate, ultra-modern; spec.
designating art of a markedly
avant-garde quality, or furniture,
building, decoration, etc., having
modern characteristics (opp.
PERIOD n. 15)”. (OED)
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
Contemporary Magazine

Key words:
– Emerging galleries
– The institutions of art
– Appearing, materialising, coming forth
– The future becoming present
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
Contemporary Writers

Key words:
– ”most important living writers”
– The producers of art
– Contemporary writers are alive
– Not all living writers are contemporary
– Only important living writers are
contemporary
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
The Centre for
Contemporary British
History

Key words:

events of the 20th century: the past
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
Terry Eagleton, ”After the
Wake” (2005)
It [liberal humanism] remains, however, an extrordinary powerful
influence in the contemporary English novel, as it does in the
English theatre. For all their manifest differences, it is the
world-view which unites Ian McEwan and Fay Weldon, A. S.
Byatt and Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Rose Tremain. It is,
in a word, the official ethical and political doctrine of literary
London – a remarkably resilient, deep-seated consensus
which has survived a whole series of historical upheavals, and
which helps to determine what counts as acceptable belief or
fiction today. It is an honourable world view, humane,
enlightened and morally serious. Whether it is adequate to a
globalized world of terrorism and transnational corporations is
a different question.” (337)
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
Terry Eagleton, ”After the
Wake” (2005)




Genre or institution
The contemporary does not exist
It is dead or irrelevant
It is untimely or out of sync
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
The uses of
”contemporary”


A symptom of a fundamental loss of
orientation?
A device in your construction of a
narrative: products, institutions,
producers, events? [Exclusive device;
selection and significance (good,
relevant, valuable)]
Jens Kirk, Dept. of Languages
and Culture
Contemporaneities
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