Chronology: With a Special Project by Paul Chan
In these multiple excursions through recent artist film-installations, Daniel Birnbaum pursues a problem that preoccupied Deleuze in post-war cinema: what is the logic of this peculiar time “after finitude”, based neither in God nor Man, salvation nor destiny; and what does it mean for our brains and our lives to invent new ways to make it visible? With a light wry wit, he thus renews a question, at once aesthetic and philosophical, still very much with us.
– John Rajchman, Philosopher, Columbia University
Both a deep insight into the future and a protest against forgetting (Eric Hobsbawm), Daniel Birnbaum’s essay Chronology is quite simply the best art book of the year.
– Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of exhibitions and director of international programs, Serpentine Gallery
A philosophical essay on time, phenomenology and beyond, Daniel Birnbaum’s Chronology was reviewed in frieze as a “compelling and sophisticated take on the common theme of Deleuzian immanence.” Whereas many theoretical books littering the bookshops of art institutions are laudations of excess, Birnbaum’s convictions presented in Chronology cut a way through the “caesuras of non-meaning and blankness into the thick web of sense.” The works of artists such as Stan Douglas, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Doug Aitken, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Tacita Dean, Darren Almond, Tobias Rehberger, Pierre Huyghe, Philippe Parreno and Paul Chan are scrutinized as so many attempts to capture the very dialectic of time itself. The book can be seen as “an exploration of the crystallization of time that uses phenomenology as a pretext for saying things about artworks that create their own theories”.
This fully illustrated 2nd edition features a new introduction and afterword by the author. Daniel Birnbaum reflects on the critical reception of his book and further extends Deleuzian ideas to the fields of art and film. In his afterword on Paul Chan, the author discusses a new sense of messianic time, a new chronology, as experienced with The 7 Lights series by the artist.
In addition to annotated artwork illustrations, the book contains a special insert by Paul Chan: twelve original drawings where the artist explores the spatial metaphors evocated in the text. The book also features flip-book sequences from two films (Lady of Shanghai,1947, Enter the Dragon, 1973) which further elaborate on the Deleuzian themes of mirrors, death, and the crystallization of time.
Daniel Birnbaum is Director of the Städelschule and its Portikus gallery in Frankfurt am Main and a member of the board of the city’s Institut für Sozialforschung. A contributing editor of Artforum, he is the author of several books on art and philosophy, including The Hospitality of Presence: Problems of Otherness in Husserl’s Phenomenology (1998) and, together with Carsten Höller, Production (2000). He co-curated the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and the 1st Moscow Biennale (2005). He is the co-organizer, with Christine Macel, of Airs de Paris (2007), an exhibition that celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Centre Pompidou.