Intervals (time without qualities)

'Might one not think of public time’, [Stephen Wright] asks, ‘as carving out breathing spots, intervals, transitory breaches in the very core of collective existence, time slots still unfettered by moral or political discipline?’. Wright’s interest is in cracks in otherwise seamless time. If time now has various capitalized qualities then what is a time without qualities? What is a time that is ‘available’, ‘an undisciplined time, a public time whose ideological and moral density is tolerably low’? These intervals would constitute the equivalent to the strange in-between spatial zones in and around cities – derelict sites, empty parking lots, those bedraggled non-spaces before the city peters out. Wright wants to know what the temporal equivalence might be of these ‘vague terrains’, what vague time might feel like, a time between public and private time that remains indistinct. Drawing on Jacques Ranciere’s insistence that the sphere of democracy is always under construction, an interval, that is, between legal and social identity, then that space is also temporal, and the sort of public time Wright refers to as ‘without qualities,’ unqualified and unquantified, is the very condition of the possibility of democracy, of a sharing of public life.

Lisa Baraitser, Enduring Time, 9