Chan writes about what he calls 'right timing', but cautions that kairos is only possible at opportune moments and only if the opportunity is acted upon. He discusses that earlier Greek philosophy had a slightly different meaning, that kairos was a place in the body that demands special protection, that kairos is the place where mortality resides.
Chan says, "Being mortal means making good of the task of fully inhabiting one's own demise. Time becomes meaningful only in this way,"
I wonder about this sometimes. As I get older, the louder my heartbeat seems to echo back from the pillow, perhaps reminding me of all the things I haven't done but still want to, a 3am bucket list, preventing sleep. My time marches onward as I make good on the task of fully inhabiting my own demise. Gloomy? Maybe. Good to remember? Definitely.
I've chosen Paul Chan's text because my understanding of kairos relates to my previous photography work. When I came to art school I wanted the discomfort of a non-default setting. The challenge of learning as much as I could was, to me, more important. This year, it feels right to use photography, in a sculptural installation, a right time to combine the two. Time will tell.
Paul Chan wrote this article in 2010. That year he decided to leave art, to found a publishing company, Badlands Unlimited. In 2014 he returned to making art. Perhaps 2010 was one of Chan's kairos time moments. The title of this article might suggest that it may be so. One of mine was 2016.