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Deep Time

Christina Fredengren talks about Deep Time.
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We’re here today to talk about time. Often, time is perceived in a linear way. Many of us live according to a linear time schedule. We perceive the past to be behind us, the present to be at the point where we stand- -and the future lies ahead of us. Many of us plan our lives and relationships through calendars- -which we synchronize with others. I set up meetings with family, friends, or for work, for the coming week- -for the coming months, and at longest, you may have five-year plans. However, there are also other ways of understanding time. I, as an archaeologist, often have time under my feet. This is something I have in common with my colleagues, the geologists.
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As here, where we are standing on stromatolites, which are 700,000,000 years old. We are checking in with what are extremely deep times. And what we also have in common, is that we perceive and try to understand time as material. We follow the material trajectories of formations from very far in the past- -and we can also trace how they are infringing on the future. It’s similar to climate change, that the material processes that we make here and now- -territorialize far futures, and we need to be better at tuning in- -with these long-term materializing processes. We need to be better at thinking about what is most important for planetary survival today.

Standing on 700 million year old fossils, called stromatolites, Christina Fredengren explores perceptions about time. She explains how time is often perceived in a linear way, with the past behind us, the present t a point where we stand and the future ahead of us. She contrasts this perception with the archaeological and geological perception of time as material, a perception which allows us to envisage how material change in the past or present can territorialize futures.

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