24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep by Jonathan Crary.
On systemic restrictions on day dreaming and reverie.
One of the forms of disempowerment within 24/7 environments is the incapacitation of daydream or of any mode of absent-minded introspection that would otherwise occur in intervals of slow or vacant time. Now one of the attractions of current systems and products is their operating speed: it has become intolerable for there to be waiting time while something loads or connects. When there are delays or breaks of empty time, they are rarely openings for the drift of consciousness in which one becomes unmoored from the constraints and demands of the immediate present. There is a profound incompatibility of anything resembling reverie with the priorities of efficiency, functionality, and speed.
Later, for the patient reader, there is a discussion of waiting in the context of the film by Chantal Akerman De l’est and its dwelling on line-ups.
Certainly, Akerman lets us see the queue as Sartre did, as a plurality of separations that become “the negation of reciprocity.” But one of her revelatory achievements is also to show the act of waiting as something essential to the experience of being together, to the tentative possibility of community. It is a time in which encounters can occur. Mixed in with the annoyances and frustrations is the humble and artless dignity of waiting, of being patient as deference to others, as a tacit acceptance of time shared in common. The suspended, unproductive time of waiting, of taking turns, is inseparable from any form of cooperation or mutuality.
Set the timer for a time-out.
And so for day 1138