reclaiming temporalities, Fran MM Cabeza de Vaca

narrator Fran MM Cabeza de Vaca
term reclaiming temporalities
published 31 March 2022, Madrid
affiliated institution Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

As social agreements sustained over time, institutions are by definition diachronic.  Different temporalities converge within them, and in a more or less explicit way these temporalities are arranged in hierarchies: some temporalities play a central role in the functioning of the institution, others are relegated to the margins, to exceptional moments.  In an institution like the Reina Sofía Museum certain temporalities become central: the recently inaugurated Collection, for example, proposes a reading of the present drawing upon a critical study of a common past framed by the period between 1881 and 2021. On the other hand, the circadian rhythms of the museum’s openings and closings, the duration of its public activities, or the speed at which various human groups move through the space mark the presence of another more concrete, more experiential temporality, that crystallizes into a kind of chrononormativity, to use Elisabeth Freeman’s word.  Collective projects like El jardín de las mixturas, Savia or Serenity Rave introduce alternative temporal logics into the very heart of the Museum, piercing the rigid walls of its hegemonic temporality.


Communitarian actions, if they are truly rooted in active listening to their constituencies, highlight those tensions born of the friction between the temporal experience proposed (or imposed) by the institution and these other diverse (and often opposing) ways in which the participating persons and collectives experience and inhabit time. Based on the lessons derived from these projects as well as temporal paradigms drawn from performance and sound art, we propose to reflect upon the normativity of institutional temporality and processes of collective action that seek to introduce alternative temporalities within the institution.  Can the institution make room for these constituent temporalities?