Tarek El-Ariss presenting the keynote at March Meeting, Sharjah Art Foundation, 2019. Photo: Sharjah Art Foundation


Any reflection on time in the digital age is also a reflection on history, both the history of the subject as a narrative of the self, which Freud mapped out, and history as dialectics, which started with Hegel and then Marx and continued with the neoliberal models of reconstruction and development prevalent today. Any new experience of time thus affects the subject’s ability to recognise itself in the past and project itself into the future, and to come to itself by facing screens and holding devices that initiate new models of intimacy, fascination and love. Starting with the Arabian Nights and reading storytelling as ‘buying time’ to defer certain death and the retribution of demons, monsters, tyrannical rulers and lovers, this talk develops a framework for thinking about the time of the virtual as both fictional and experiential, arising from the space between the body and the screen, ushering in new models of duration and becoming, and gesturing towards new fictions of the self (virtual reality, video games, ‘ajaib).

Tarek El Ariss - A Recent History

Related Content

MM 2019: Holding time: history, fiction, experience

El-Ariss, Tarek

Spanning disciplines and languages, Tarek El-Ariss’ research interests include contemporary Arabic culture, literature and art; new media and cyber culture; and digital humanities.