Saturday, October 25, 2003

I would explain it with the example of the time problem. We all know the
mechanical time of a television program which is basically derived from
peoples' working hours and the petty mercantile uses they make of their
leisure time. For the Greeks, Chronos stood for time that leads to
death, time that consumes itself. Chronos is a gigantic god who devours
his own children. His antipode in the Greek pantheon is Kairos, "the
fortunate moment." Kairos is a very small, dwarf-like god with a bald
head. But on his forehead he has a tuft (of dense hair). If you catch the
tuft, you're lucky. If you are just a moment too late, your grip on his
bald head will slip and you won't be able to hold on to him. This
character, Kairos, is the "happy time" that is hidden in the time of
people's lives, in their working time, in everything they might do. He is
an object of aesthetic activity. With Chronos on the other hand, you can
only become a watchmaker.

The time-machine...

Artists can't really stop the time-machine either. And it's not even worth
describing it. Kairos is the element through which we live, and to
recreate this principle in the center of TV-Chronos, even if only for
seconds, is our sole purpose. And it is no different with texts. Hidden
in a long text, there are perhaps three lines that count. A small amount
of Chronos is still very dangerous: his canine tooth can crush you, while
at the same time a very small dose of Kairos will suffice, as it is a
counter-principle, a completely different kind of time.
( Interview with Alexander Kluge (by Hans Ullrich Obrist))

Kluge prepares for the Büchnerpreis