Unlearning Time

Public Program
Mar 16, 2019
Model of ice core. Photo: Jennie Hills.

Saturday, March 16, 4–6pm
“Unlearning Time” with Sally Frater and Bruce Robbins

Art in General
145 Plymouth Street (Map)
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

This Spring, Art in General continues to host the ongoing experimental discussion series Learning and Unlearning, organized by the artist-founded publication Shifter (Avi Alpert and Rit Premnath).

Sally Frater & Bruce Robbins will lead a discussion on the topic of “deep time,” a mode of investigating how our present is inextricably tied to histories long past. We will consider how this extended historical approach may complicate our ethical and political claims. How, for example, do we think about history–or histories–in a globalized present of conflicting claims of injustice? Is there a temporal analog to cosmopolitanism, and if so, what would it look like? Are there new arrangements of time that are made possible when we decenter a privileged chronology? And considering the environmental impacts of rapid development, how do historical time and geological time intersect and complicate each other? From their different perspectives and archives, Robbins and Frater will challenge us to think through our ingrained understanding of the relation between justice to time.

Unlearning Time is part of the series Learning and Unlearning, organized by Shifter in collaboration with Art in General. The aim of these shared gatherings is to unlearn the assumptions and prejudices we hold about each other and ourselves. Previous installments in the series have included Unlearning Work in Fall 2017 and Unlearning Dystopia in Spring 2018.

Avi Alpert teaches literature and critical theory in the Princeton Writing Program where he focuses on the impact of globalization on modern thought and institutions. His writing examines what it means to be at once a private individual and a global subject, and how this dual demand has shaped modern life. His first book, Global Origins of the Modern Self, from Montaigne to Suzuki, offers a global history of the self, from Renaissance Europe to modern Japan. He has co-edited Dictionary of the Possible, Shifter Vol.22, and also writes art criticism and fiction.

Sally Frater holds an Honors BA in Studio Art from the University of Guelph and an MA (with Merit) in Contemporary Art from The University of Manchester/Sotheby’s Institute of Art. She has curated exhibitions for venues including the McColl Center for Art and Innovation, Glassell School of Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery at the University of Toronto, and Project Row Houses. She has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. A member of AAMC (the Association of Art Museum Curators), and IKT (Association of International Curators of Contemporary Art), Frater recently was the Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ulrich Museum of Art in Wichita, KS.

Sreshta Rit Premnath is an artist works across multiple media, investigating systems of representation and reflecting on the process by which images become icons and events become history. Premnath is the founder and co-editor of the publication Shifter and teaches at Parsons, New York.

Bruce Robbins is Old Dominion Foundation Professor of the Humanities in the department of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. His books include The Beneficiary (2017), Perpetual War: Cosmopolitanism from the Viewpoint of Violence (2012), Upward Mobility and the Common Good (2007), Feeling Global: Internationalism in Distress (1999), and The Servant’s Hand: English Fiction from Below (1986). His essays have appeared in n+1, The Nation, Public Books, and the London Review of Books. He is also the director of a documentary, Some of My Best Friends Are Zionists, available at bestfriendsfilm.com

Shifter is a topical publication that aims to illuminate and broaden our understanding of the intersections between contemporary art, politics, and philosophy. Shifter remains malleable and responsive in its form and activities, and represents a diversity of positions and backgrounds in its contributors. The publication is edited by Sreshta Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert.

General Support of Art in General is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation; Trust for Mutual Understanding; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; National Endowment for the Arts; Visegrad Fund and FUTURA; Greenwich Collection; Cowles Charitable Trust; Milton and Sally Avery Foundation; Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; The Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

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Project Description:

Learning and Unlearning in collaboration with Shifter