In his essay »Searching for the Planetary in Every Grain of Sand,« Likavčan writes that cosmograms bring different versions of our planetary imagination to the plane of reference. He further explains his use of planetary: Planetary as in »the dynamics in our ecosystem largely indifferent to our fate ….« But even though that description is stated as a fact, that idea that the ecosystem is largely indifferent to our fate is argued by an Igbo proverb insisting that a human is not a passive character in the theater of fate, but is rather an active determinant in the turning of the cosmos toward the final destination. »If a man says yes, his Chi says yes,« reads the proverb.
Roughly expanded, it means that if a human being comes into being on earth and chooses a path for his life, the spirit who is assigned to accompany him from heaven – his Chi – has no choice but to accept what the human has chosen. Free will is not just a slogan, it’s a contract that God has signed with us, and therefore owes us. The concept of fate as fixed and therefore, the cosmos as an invulnerable and unaffected entity, is not the case here.
Cosmograms are not so much viewed; they are more often performed. They are danced, they are listened to [they] do not come across as explicit discourses, rather they present implicit traces of different relations which might be repeatedly applied through different registers of reality.
All Time wants to do is flow. Our concept of what makes time correct or even precise, sometimes protects us from her impulse to run free from our tame grasp. From 2017 to 2018, I traveled to eight different African countries to learn choreographies local to each of the groups I visited. Somewhere between learning Intore in Rwanda and Pantsula in South Africa, I took down these notes on rhythm which have become my three lessons on decolonizing Time:
Lesson one: Replace your counting numbers with chants and sounds that match the body percussion. Put your 5, 6, 7, 8 to rest. Try Chanchanchararachararachan.
Lesson two: Wear the movement vocabulary of other nonwestern cultures so you can have an embodied perspective on the diversity of intelligence. Also, befriend their drums.
Lesson three: In case you wonder why our moves are fluid like a wave, it’s because the smallest unit of time isn’t always a second.
In Pantsula, the smallest unit of time keeps expanding based on how much you can isolate body parts from each other and how fast you can transition between two movements and still stay on the beat. Basically, the smallest unit of time is as personal as the strength of one’s heart rate.
Time is any way of counting the change of something.
Time is a dance between memory and anticipation. The past holds memory. And the future, holds anticipation. Both are expressions of a human need for sentiments. Is it too far of me to say Time is created to feed our sentimental nature? In his book, The Order of Time, Carlo Rovelli proposes that we, humans, are the time machine. In that case, does that mean that we look for who we are in the materials available to us? Where pieces of wood could have just been pieces of wood, we took it and built a tally system. Or, where sand could have just laid by itself on the beach, we took it and put it in a curved glass container and called it an hourglass. We did it to a piece of metal swinging from one end to another. And then we did it to the quartz crystal as we lodged it into these machines we now call clocks. Rather than Time telling the story of humanity, it seems like humanity is desperately trying to tell a story of Time. And what better way to tell a story than with words.