The Narrated Present 2013
What does ‘now’ mean in the 21st century and can it continue to exist? I am proposing exploring the concept of the ‘now’ through the point of confluence of space and time, an interval that is a single isolated moment, the present, that pertains to the individual yet relates to a collective whole. It is both physical and mental. The past cannot be erased, either physically or as a perpetuated myth. Its palimpsest remains as an often unseen entity. Thus the space of the present can only be understood through the past. However, in the 21st century, a global present exists as oppose to the traditional spatially-confined ‘now’. There is a collapse of conventional time states due to globalisation, created by what Marc Augé would call the condition of the supermodern, an overabundance. (There are some disputes over whether globalisation is a modern day phenomena, notably Wallerstein). This excess contributes to a present, a now that is a continuous flow of information whereby knowledge is accessed readily rather than gained through empiricism. Thus it is my contention that the ‘now’ of the 21st century could be seen as less of an isolated moment more as a continuity of the past that flows seamlessly into the future, the present superseded by differing time states that relate to the world as a whole rather than to the single isolated moment. This has ramifications, for example, whose history is it now?
This exploration however, will not ignore the site that inspired the discussion and the peculiarities of the particular island as a small, singular place. To fully understand this position, I will reference Henri Lefebvre who says that space cannot be understood without reference to its function which places the island and its histories in context. The Narrated Present will therefore look at ‘now’ as an ephemeral position that encompasses both space and time with locational insight.