Plastic and Presentism: The Time of Disposability
Journal: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology
Subject Areas: Archaeology
How did a material as tough and durable as plastic became classified as transient anddisposable? This is a temporal question that wrestles with the paradox of how plastic'smaterial endurance and synthetic immortality have been obliterated by economic andcultural practices driven by single use. Disposable plastic things generate a distinct temporalitycharacterized by being immediately present and ephemeral. These things seemto be most definitely in the flow of time: barely there before they are gone, but what doesthis presentism affirm? How does this material realise the present as without history ororigin, and endlessly replaceable? To pursue these issues, historical and sociotechnicalaccounts of plastic and philosophical explorations of the relations between time andmaterials are put into dialogue. In historical approaches plastic is recognized as being intime, in the sense of being caught up in the dynamics of historicity and changing contexts,but it is not recognized as being of time: as actualizing new temporal ontologies.Process philosophers provide key insights into the intersections between plasticity andtemporality and show how materials are simultaneously in and of time.
Author: Gay Hawkins
Bergson, H. 1913. Time and Free Will: An Essay on the Immediate Data of Consciousness. Translated by F. L. Pogson. London: George Allen & Co.
Bensaude-Vincent, B. 2013. “Plastics and Dreams of Dematerialization.” In Accumulation: The Material Politics of Plastic, edited by J. Gabrys, G. Hawkins and M. Michael, 17–29. London and New York: Routledge .
Bhandar, B. and J. Goldberg-Hiller. 2015. “Introduction: Staging Encounters.” In Plastic Materialities: Politics, Legality, and Metamorphosis in the Work of Catherine Malabou, edited by B. Bhandar and J. Goldberg-Hiller, 1–33 . Durham, NC: Duke University Press. https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822375739-001
Connolly, W. 2011. A World of Becoming, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
DeLanda, M. 2002. Intensive Science and Virtual Philosophy. London: Bloomsbury
Deleuze, G. 1988. Bergsonism. Translated by H. Tomlinson and B. Habberjam. New York: Zone Books.
____. and Guatarri, F. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus. Translated by B. Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Grosz, E. (ed.). 1999. Becomings: Explorations in Time, Memory and Futures. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Hartog, F. 2015. Regimes of Historicity: Presentism and Experiences of Time. Translated by S. Brown. New York: Columbia University Press.
Malabou, C. 2000. “The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, Dialectic.” Hypatia 15 (4): 196–220. Translated by L. During. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1527-2001.2000.tb00362.x
____. 2005. The Future of Hegel: Plasticity, Temporality, Dialectic. Translated by L. During. London and New York: Routledge.
Meikle, J. 1997. American Plastic: A Cultural History. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
Packard, V. 1960. The Waste Makers. New York: D. McKay.
Reynolds, J. 2012. Chronopathologies: Time and Politics in Deleuze, Derrida and Analytic Philosophy. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
Sparke, P. 1993. The Plastics Age: From Bakelite to Beanbags and Beyond. New York: Overlook Press.
Stavrinaki, M. 2016. Dada Presentism. Translated by D. Ginsburb. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Stouffer, L. 1964. “Plastics Packaging: Today and Tomorrow.” SPI National Plastics Conference, Nov. 1963, Chicago: Proceedings, 1–3. New York: Society of the Plastics Industry.