Encountering Temporality VII:

So far in the blog posts I have focused on the temporalities that I have encountered and experienced via walking along Lewisham Way. However, an aim of this residency was not only to explore the temporalities themselves but also the various sensory methods that aim to grasp them. It is to this latter issue that this post turns.


In blog post II I discussed how sensory methods are one way in which the intangibility and ephemerality of temporality and futurity may be engaged. In posts III, IV, V and VI I thought through photographs, videos and audio recordings taken on walks of Lewisham Way to examine specific encounters with and experiences of temporality. One engagement with temporality that emerged as particularly significant is that of anticipation of the future; I suggested that in different ways, doorbells and pedestrian crossings are technologies whereby the future is anticipated.


It is difficult to consider whether this temporal experience would have emerged through a range of different methods as sensory methods were integral to how I have researched and examined the walks. In this sense then, it is possible to say that the sensory methods have at least in part generated the research finding that various visual and audio technologies found along Lewisham Way are anticipatory.


The recordings that I have included in the posts can be understood as documenting these encounters with and experiences of anticipation; they have captured them and enabled me to think further about temporality and futurity. However, the medium specificity of the methods has been less apparent. What do the photographs, video and audio recordings do, similarly and differently? What do they draw my/our attention to? What do they not do?


Beginning to reflect on these questions, my first thoughts are that photographing encounters with temporality on the walks enabled me to consider some of the standardised ways in which temporality is organised along Lewisham Way. This is especially the case in terms of noticing and documenting various signs (blog post III) and techniques/technologies such as doorbells (blog post IV) and pedestrian crossings (blog posts V and VI). Once I’d noticed these different technologies, photographs became a means of examining further how they elicit and organise experiences with temporality – for example in post IV where one photograph became the basis of an exploration of the anticipatory qualities of the doorbell.


In posts V and VI, the noticing that the photographs had enabled became the basis of video and audio recordings, which aimed to relate to the movements and stoppages involved in walking. In blog post V, which included some raw video footage of pedestrian crossings, I considered the temporalities of waiting and rushing, and suggested that these different temporalities be understood as embodied experiences where the future is anticipated. The moving images of the videos opened these temporalities up for consideration.


Blog post VI includes audio recordings to concentrate on the regularities and differences and novelties involved in repeated crossings of the same pedestrian crossing. The audio recordings drew my attention to what remains consistent in the crossings – the beeps of the crossing, and to a certain extent my footsteps – and what changes – flows of traffic and associated sounds. Listening closely to the sounds of Lewisham Way therefore became another way to examine its temporalities.


As noted above, in reflecting on what the different sensory methods afford, I am arguing neither that other methods wouldn’t be capable of capturing or drawing attention to similar themes, nor that these are the best or optimum methods for considering encounters with and experiences of temporality on Lewisham Way. Rather, I am suggesting that in deploying these particular methods in these particular ways, particular themes, issues and concerns emerged, and it is to these that my attention has been directed. The aim of this residency then, is not so much about producing a holistic or representative account as about generating relatively short, sharp investigations into some of the possible ways in which sensory methods may engage temporality and futurity on a specific stretch of road in south east London.