I have been thinking a lot about the ‘almost’ quality of events in our current tempor(e)ality. How they either seem to be of such small proportion that they can’t really be said to have any overarching eventful consequence, or are in fact so large scale that they scale across so many instances and connected factors, that they eventually escape eventality; by being too big and too slow. It’s leading me to question that true event, which would form a new reality within the boundaries of its origin. Everything strikes me as being so fluidly connected now, that any talk of boundaries sink into that fluidity; no one thing without the other; multiplied ad infinitum. Apeirophobia – fear of infinity.

Evental Romance
For a long time I structured my political life, and in many ways my artistic practice, around the notion of the political event - be it events of the past, events currently unfolding, or events on the horizon. I was insisting on the potentiality of this event and how it would generate physical collective action and reaction. I am now considering the political event to be perceived, discussed and experienced in a different time quality, than how I had initially perceived or fetishised it. This means letting go of a certain romantic idea about that political event. An event in which oppressive structures would be revealed and the desire for new alternative (anti-capitalistic) ways of life would stream forth; a change of ideas collectively forming around that instant, that gathering, that happening from where there is no going back; a true event that would form a new reality within the boundaries of its origin. But in the fluidity of tempor(e)ality these moments always stay in that state of ‘almost’. Almost what exactly?

What is a Political Event?
The philosophical positions on ‘the event’ makes up a vast landscape that really engulf the entire history of philosophy, but in his text ‘What is a Political Event?’ (2008), Ian MacKenzie gives us some newer positions on what could constitute an event. He presents different perspectives on the event from philosophers Donald Davidson, Paul Ricoeur, Alain Badiou and Gilles Deleuze, and frames these to the attacks of 9/11 and the laws passed by the United States Congress in response to the attacks. In the following I will stick to Mackenzie’s example, not only because it illustrates his points so well, but also because the attacks on 9/11 really evokes, in me, the last time I had the notion of a true political event occurring, not to mention how the laws past in the  settling dust of that moment, really seemed to change my political reality.

Davidson - Things and Events
The first perspective is offered by Donald Davidson, stating that events 'could be proved to have an identity equivalent to that of things, that they could be individuated for example, implying that they are as ontologically basic and as plausible as the things that are imputed as part of the ontological fabric of the world.' (MacKenzie, 2008) In this sense the event can be said to be an entity, just like the thing, meaning that when we consider the legislation acts post 9/11, we should concern ourselves ‘as much with the event of legislating as with the thing that legislates’. (MacKenzie, 2008) The act must be taken into account in the same way as the acting body. Events and things are thus ‘ontologically equivalent, non-reducible to each other but of the same ontological standing.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) So in our recounting of the event, we can’t only consider how it may have changed certain qualities around the ‘things’, but must also consider the event itself. Being particularly interested in how events and things are framed within our use of language, Davidson’s approach would highlight how both exist, as different but still equivalent, distinguished mainly by how they are framed by language. ‘Events and objects may be related to locations in spacetime in different ways; it may be, for example, that events occur at a time in a place while objects occupy places at times. […] Occupying the same portion of spacetime, event and object differ. One is an object which remains the same object through changes, the other a change in an object or objects. Spatiotemporal areas do not distinguish them, but our predicates, our basic grammar, our ways of sorting do.’ (Davidson, 1985) This approach to the event could be said to be of a certain neutral theory of the event or as Paul Ricoeur would frame it in his critique of Davidson, an ontology of the impersonal event.

Ricoeur - The Mineness of the Event
Ricoeur points out how Davidson’s treatment of the event, as something that has always already happened, neutralises it or makes it impersonal, and thus neglects the mineness of the event. Ricoeur does not contest events having ‘ontological status’ or that ‘they can be an object of impersonal description’, but ‘by entering into the movement of a narrative which relates character to plot, the event loses its impersonal neutrality.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) He emphasises the moment where a specific act becomes a significant part of a personal narrative and in this way is viewed as an event by that person. The event is signified by the notion of significance experienced by the person(s) involved. The event becomes mine. A purely neutral description of the post 9/11 passing of laws, ‘would miss crucial elements of what actually constituted any given legislative event itself.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) The laws are passed by legislators with overlapping and conflicting narratives. The significance that each legislator ascribed to their action of legislation must be taken into account - the movement of a narrative which relates character to plot. The attacks on 9/11 may have the neutral quality of an event equivalent to a thing, but the event has express significance, to each agent involved in the experience and the recounting of the event. In relation to how one frames a political event, Mackenzie generalises Ricoeur’s understanding of the event as follows: ‘an event occurs if and only if something significant happens, such that a political event occurs if and only if something significant happens “from the perspective of” a political subject.’ (2008) This brings with it the problem of the many different forms of significance that an event may have to the many different agents involved, including agents that does not ascribe any significance to it at all, even as they are part of it. This becomes a problem in the description of something as a generally understood political event. In what way can one speak of the eventality of the 9/11 attacks, in a general sense, if the eventness is constituted by the significance that every agent ascribes to it individually? What is simply an occurrence (that may be experienced subjectively by one or several agents as having the significance of an event) and what is an event?

Badiou - The Militant
Alain Badiou argues ‘that one feature of a political event that constitutes its eventness is whether or not the individuals involved in the occurrence claim it as an event.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) So something can occur, it can be neutrally described and grasped, but only when the subjects involved claims an eventality of this occurrence, this subjective claim can form it into an event. But if the event is the consequence of a subjective decision to regard the occurrence as evental, how can one distinguish a true event from a false one? Badiou’s answer to this is that the significance to a subject is not enough to claim an event, but rather the ‘universalisable nature of this significance.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) In that sense it is only if the significance of an event can be universalised, become an address to all, that addresses all as equals, that one can talk of a true event. For this to work in practice, the subject that claims universal significance of an occurrence, transforming it into an event, must take on a universal form of subjectivity. As a political subject, Badiou calls this form of subjectivity: the militant. In this sense Badiou’s political event is rare, but when it does materialise includes all involved collectively. A contrast to Ricoeur’s many events that can only be experienced individually. The mediation of the 9/11 attacks could be what made it into a collectively claimed rare event. One in which we all became militant media consumers and agents claiming the universalisability of the significance that the occurrence had. But as the media machine starts grinding out the gory paste of political colouring, dramatisations and endless reiterations of the occurrence, the militant universalisation of the claim to eventality, proves brief. Badiou: ‘What I call political is something that can be discerned only in a few, fairly brief, sequences, often quickly overturned, crushed, or diluted by the return of business as usual’. (MacKenzie, 2008) From this it is clear that Badiou would not consider the actual 9/11 attacks a political event, simply because it, ‘despite appearances to the contrary, [..] did not compel its subjects to stop carrying on as before. Instead it confirmed, in the most dramatic terms, the basic principle which has long governed the global order, whereby the only lives that count are the lives of those who own the dominant means of exploitation and control the military resources required to preserve them’. (MacKenzie, 2008) The problem of Badiou’s fidelity to that true political event – the one that rarely occurs and can only be claimed by the militant subject – seems to be that the universalisability of it demands an equality that on one hand includes all (beyond political subjectivity – beyond political value) and on the other can only be constituted by a universal form of political subjectivity (the political aspect of this only pertinent if given value, which begs the question on what parameters this value is to be treated). It still relates somehow to the mineness of the event, here claimed by a universal political subject. Where Davidson sees all occurrences as events, and Ricoeur emphasises the subjective significance of these events, Badiou is really at the opposite pole where only very rare occurrences are events, but his subjective-universal criterion for separating events from occurrences proves ‘unsustainable once it is cached out in terms of equality’.(MacKenzie, 2008) It fails ‘to provide any meaningful way to differentiate political events from their simulacra’. (MacKenzie, 2008)

Deleuze - Meaning Enters the World Behind our Backs
Gilles Deleuze enters, with a new position in-between the neutral theory of impersonal events of Davidson (where all occurrences can be said to be events) and Badiou’s very specific type of occurrence constituting a political event. Namely, ‘events as the incorporeal effects of corporeal relations between things’. (MacKenzie, 2008) The corporeal ‘things’ that may also include bodies, are distinct from incorporeal entities which do not exist, like things do, but rather ’subsist’ within these things. These incorporeal entities subsisting within the things are events and they surface when said things come into contact with each other. It is however not all combinations of things that constitutes an event, for Deleuze. Most combinations of things would result in mere occurrences. ‘For an incorporeal event-effect to be produced, the combination of things must constitute a turning point in the material constitution of those things.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) In this way, an ‘event is the production of an objective materiality rather than a subjective imposition on it.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) Deleuze points out that what is produced at this turning point is not a thing but rather a non-thing. What is produced is a change in the relation between things – a change in intensity. It is when the incorporeal entities which subsist within things come into contact with others, and a turning point occurs in one or more of the causal series that constitute the things, that an event can be said to occur. As for Badiou, the actual 9/11 attacks do not constitute a political event for Deleuze, ‘but they do carry within them the traces of an event or events that give what happened its many different significances’. (MacKenzie, 2008) Since presuming that the occurrences of 9/11 constitute a unique event would ultimately mean that the event was created out of nothing (ex nihilo); this does not fit into the the Deleuzean approach. ‘Rather than treat 9/11 as an event in itself, the Deleuzean perspective is to treat the occurrences of 9/11 as those which actualised events virtually embedded within them. Putting it simply, 9/11 was not the political event, 9/11 is what alerted us to the fact that political events had already taken place. Something significant had already happened, some turning points had already occurred in the material constitution of the political and it was 9/11 that made us aware, that gave us the “sense” (in Deleuzean terminology), that things had already changed.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) Deleuze’s ‘turning point’ is expressed as a change in the reality of things. The question of when this turning point occurs becomes crucial. Back in the early 2000s, I personally had the notion that the laws passed immediately after the attacks on 9/11, had the effects of a turning point in my political reality. Deleuze, points out that this was not really the case. Rather than the 9/11 attacks being a turning point, it was what brought an already turned political reality fully into my awareness; it brought me to my senses. ‘The real political events have already happened and 9/11 is an occurrence that carries within it the traces of these events. Or, in other words, it is not that 9/11 itself was significant, but that it revealed the significant effects already produced by a changing political order.’ (MacKenzie, 2008)

The reality of a thing must include, that relations between things are part of the very thing and that this relation is not one that extends but rather intensifies. In the relation between things, this relation is not only one of extending over and changing the other, but rather that the relation intensifies a change in the thing itself. A thing has both an extensive and an intensive component, it has both actual extensive features and virtual intensive relations. In this distinction between the actual quality of the thing (extensive) and the virtual quality of its relations (intensive), it is important to note how the two are in relation with each other and how ‘while the virtual relations of intensity condition our experience of things, the appearance of actual things themselves, the conditioned, also determines how we experience the relations of intensity’. (MacKenzie, 2008) A ‘reciprocal determination’ that opens up to an extended reading of the event as something that truly cuts through time. Where Badiou’s idea, that the event would be claimed by a universal subject, relates to a post-occurrence, Deleuze’s idea, about the reciprocal determination of extensive features and intensive relations, points to the fact that other events must already have happened in order for the combination of things to constitute a turning point in the material constitution of those things – a pre-occurrence. ‘The significance of 9/11 as a political occurrence, in other words, is not something attached to it ‘after the event’ by subjects. Rather, its significances subsist within the occurrence such that the different responses to 9/11 – that it was a ‘horrifying’, ‘salutary’, ‘glorious’, etc. occurrence – are to be thought of as expressions of incorporeal effects inherent within the occurrence itself. In other words, the different meanings people attach to 9/11 are not subjectively generated and then imposed upon the occurrence by individuals; rather, 9/11 was pregnant with impersonal significances that conditioned the very possibility of a variety of subjective meanings being assigned to it.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) What could be experienced as the event, is really a revelation of all the hidden, non-registered events that lead up to the reveal of a change in the reality of the thing. ’[I]n stark contrast to Badiou’s emphasis upon the revolutionary event, [Deleuze’s] events usually occur when we are least aware of them. Yet, it is as an effect of these apparently insignificant moments that significance is produced; the possibility of meaning enters the world, we might say, behind our backs.’ (MacKenzie, 2008)

The word apocalypse means revelation, and I guess this is what I had in mind when I used to think about that political event. An ultimate idea of the event as an apocalyptic moment, one that reveals and in its revelation changes the parameters of existence. This idea is somehow kept in that realm of the singular event, instead of embracing the idea of a fluidity of occurrences, that may or may not in their relations come to constitute something evental. As Federico Campagna points out apocalypses do occur. We have all experienced an apocalypse in our own life; a moment when a revelation made it impossible to return to the state we were in before this reveal - we have all moved from childhood to adult life as an inescapable example. But these apocalypses are subjective in essence (there is a mine-ness to their eventality). They may be shared by a larger community, but will very unlikely have the quality of a universalisable subjective character. The romantic notion of the political event, may have had the function of assembly and pertinence; a love affair that, perhaps partly blinded by the light, actually lead to moments resembling the fleeting moment of political eventness that Badiou grants the militant. But still, it escaped into the ocean of occurrences. More than often it proved to be a love affair based on a blind kind of love that left us disappointed and alone.

Art as Producer of Political Events
Pushing through these complex and often convolute reflections on whether or not something can truly be labelled a political event, I am left with the impression that we can ever only contemplate the political event after the fact; as second-order impression? Deleuze proposes that the reciprocal determination of the virtual-real and the actual-real result in asymmetry, difference, meaning ‘that every actual thing (state of affairs and body) is expressive of relations of difference and it is these which we sense in our experience of the world.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) In one of his metaphysical insights he also describes that ‘sensation is always the experience of a difference; that without difference there would be no sensation.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) One could argue that for Deleuze, from a metaphysical perspective, every (actual) thing expresses (virtual) differences such that everything (as virtual-actual) is potentially significant. But for Deleuze, ‘the significance engendered by an event is not passively received by individuals but actively constructed in and through the individual that senses it.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) So the interpretation of the event that may reside within the occurrence becomes an actualisation of the virtual differences contained within it. ‘As such, the interpretation itself is subject to the demands of reciprocal determination and the asymmetrical synthesis that conditions our experience of the world.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) Every experience of difference, any sensation, comes from the occurrence - nothing comes out of nothing - and the interpretive act is really us actively trying to achieve a unification of sense and meaning - which we always fail to do. ‘Every interpretation, therefore, implies a two-way process of seeking the conditions behind the conditioned and the conditional nature of the condition itself. The first process is the search for meaning, the second is the search for sense. It is Deleuze’s insight that these two processes are irrevocably joined, though they can never be harmonised, such that interpretation is always already marked by a disjunctive synthesis of meaning and sense.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) This makes Deleuze ultimately reject any idea of interpretation, ‘because it carries with it the connotation of unifying what we sense and what we mean.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) Deleuze therefore avoids speaking of interpretation and rather speaks of experimentation, connection and construction; the ‘attempt to understand an occurrence engenders the construction of an event that can be made meaningful but that also can not fully account for the sense of the event that has occurred.’ (MacKenzie, 2008) So if there is no account for the sense of the event that has occurred, then does anything ever really happen? Can anything ever be said to occur, when we are only ever perceiving it in fragments, attempting to impose meaning on sense, unable to get to the actual ‘reality’ of eventality in all its temporal entanglements? Is the event something that is always a priori, to which we only have very partial access? According to Mackenzie, ‘political theory is that which produces political events.’ (2008) It does this ‘when it creatively experiments with conceptions of the political’. (2008) An occurrence that is merely assigned meaning which accepts, or possibly reinforces, established conceptions of the political, is a political non-event. Likewise, all political theory that simply accepts or reinforces established and dominant conceptions of the political, become non-events as well. ‘A political event is a counter-actualisation of a turning point in the virtual but nonetheless real domain of intensive political relations’ (2008) and a political theory that experiments with these forms of counter-actualisations will have ‘the capacity to produce real change in the actual material constitution of things, bodies and states of affairs.’ (2008) I would argue that we could meaningfully substitute political theory with art; as something that attempts, in creative experiments, to represent the ‘real’ or ‘events’ as counter-actualisations, not only through a reciprocal determination between the actual and the virtual, but also through the ceremony as a performative abstraction of itself.

Povinelli’s Quasi-Event
I keep returning to Deleuze’s ideas about events that occur when we are least aware of them - the way meaning enters the world behind our backs. My artistic practice does revolve around events that occur in my tempor(e)ality, even if I now question completely the existence of such an event. Even if the event ever only existed a priori, it still seems to remain a construct around which I structure my life and which directs my thinking. The ‘almost’ quality that I have assigned to them, still does not render them obsolete. This situation leaves my artistic practice revolving around phantom phenomenons, around a concept that evades my comprehension. For this reason I was still searching for a new term that could count for this sensation of something at least ‘almost’ evental. It was in the writing of Elizabeth A. Povinelli that I first came upon the term 'quasi-event'. And Povinelli’s ideas around the quasi-event, really resonated with this notion I had of an event that escapes eventality. In ‘Geontologies – A Requiem to Late Liberalism’ (2016) she writes: ‘I have been interested in how specific discourses of and affects accumulating around a specific event-form – the big bang, the new, the extraordinary, that which clearly breaks time and space, creating a new Here and Now, There and Then – deflect liberal ethics and politics away from forms of harm more grudging and corrosive. In other words, I have been interested in the quasi-event, a form of occurring that never punctures the horizon of the here and now and there and then and yet forms the basis of forms of existence to stay in place or alter their place. The quasi-event is only ever hereish or nowish and thus asks us to focus our attention on forces of condensation, manifestation, and endurance rather than on the borders of objects. This form of eventfulness often twines itself around and into the tense of the other, impeding, redirecting, and exhausting the emergence of an otherwise.' (2016)

Temporal Reading
Breaking this paragraph down, it is interesting to note Povinelli’s temporally loaded versing. On one hand we have a discourse of eventality, all relating to a form of specific time positioning – the here and now, the there and then, the new, the Big Bang – and this discourse of big events and nows take the focus completely away (politically and ethically) from the forms of harm that exist outside this event-oriented discourse. On this other hand the forms of harm are described in a temporality that escapes the pivotal point in time, escapes the now – the grudging and corrosive, the impeded, the exhausted, the hereish and the nowish, that which never punctures the horizon. The discourse of the evental, draws attention away from all the harm experienced in those quasi-events that does not have that momentous ‘oomph’. The quasi-events are the many instances of occurrences that in their dragged-out temporality fails to be recognised as events, yet still forms the conditions for people to stay in one place, to persevere, to change their place or to be misplaced. This temporal language forms a certain melodic flow to the idea of the quasi-event – in opposition to the staccato performance of the event-form, the bound relations of the quasi-events, drags the melody out into a smooth and flowing legato that may in fact be experienced as hurtful dissolving, weathering, scraping away, gnawing, corroding.

Shoelaces Snap
It is in the temporality of the quasi-event that I feel a strong connection to my artistic practice. And it is also in this temporal optic that I read the work of Povinelli. It is important to note that for Povinelli the quasi-event always relates to series of distinct small, yet concrete, events that can be said to fall outside of the eventful, but nevertheless acts as minor catastrophes in the lifeworld of those experiencing them. ('My shoelaces snap all the time', Povinelli writes.) The slow grind of all these minor events is what constitutes slow harm or slow death. Her thinking is always related to direct social projects that seek to highlight how larger structures of neoliberalism are creating human realities where dispossession and colonial domination shapes the unfolding of series upon series of erosive quasi-events into the everyday lifes of the disadvantaged. For Povinelli the term quasi-event opens up to an understanding of the ordinary experiences of wear and tear, the erosion of everyday live brought on by the exploitation of neoliberalism – the myriad incidents that are not recognised as events by the larger structures of caretaking, nor within the subject itself. Nothing to rally around here. Just bad luck. She writes: ‘I am interested in forms of suffering and dying, enduring and expiring, that are ordinary, chronic, and cruddy rather than catastrophic, crisis-laden, and sublime.’ (2011) The ordinariness and the chronicity of these temporal incidents obtain them from having a certain objective being, such as one can say the event has in, its having happened. The quasi-events ‘never quite achieve the status of having occurred or taken place. They neither happen nor not happen.’ (Povinelli, 2011) And in this durational escape from the status of occurrence the quasi-event and its time-related corrosion rarely ‘necessitates ethical reflection and political and civic engagement.’ (2011) In the quasi-event Povinelli finds a way to stay with all the small pre-occurrences that will perhaps later form the revelatory expression, misinterpreted as an event. She is thinking towards a direct relation to those Deleuzian events that usually occur when we are least aware of them and the effects of all these apparently insignificant moments that produce significance.

Slow Violence
The slow hurt experienced by the disadvantaged will never get the same evental qualities ascribed to them as the catastrophe or the crisis. Povinelli writes: ‘Crises and catastrophes are kinds of events that seem to demand, as if authored from outside human agency, an ethical response. Not surprisingly then, these kinds of events become what inform the social science of suffering and thriving, the politics of assembly and dispersal, and the socially constituted senses of the extraordinary and everyday.’ (2011) The flood-wave is easy to react on, you immediately have a position on it – the rising sea levels are harder to grasp. The crash in the financial market has impact (if only shockingly fleeting) – the individual plummeting into financial ruin, much more difficult to rally around. A mental breakdown, or the collapsing of a body, is evidently significant – but the oozing sensation of fatigue, discouragement and precariousness, that the subjugation under ubiquitous invisible economic forces produces, is more difficult to put a finger on. Rob Nixon points out the same difficulty of rallying up commitment and action around slow moving violence: ‘The insidious workings of slow violence derive largely from the unequal attention given to spectacular and unspectacular time. In an age that venerates instant spectacle, slow violence is deficient in the recognisable special effects that fill movie theaters and boost ratings on TV. Chemical and radiological violence, for example, is driven inward, somatised into cellular dramas of mutation that – particularly in the bodies of the poor – remain largely unobserved, undiagnosed, and untreated. From a narrative perspective, such invisible, mutagenic theatre is slow paced and open ended, eluding the tidy closure, the containment, imposed by the visual orthodoxies of victory and defeat.’ (2011)

The Ordinary does not Exist
Nixon’s description of slow violence as unspectacular resonates with Povinelli’s idea of the quasi-event. But if the quasi-event comprises this thing that is happening (in this case as cellular drama of mutation) but has no eventfulness ascribed it, how does one hold on to it? How can one even make sure it’s a thing? And how do we rally around the quasi-event? How can we, from the quasi-event, point to a threshold from where we can take a stand? From where we can act? The small catastrophic occurrences that may unfold but cannot be registered as events not only drown in the narrative about contained events of victory or defeat, but also in the commonly shared narrative about personal struggles of ordinary life. Life is hard, we know. But as Povinelli points out, ‘[…] the ordinary does not exist. The ordinary is a statistical projection of a variety of socially distributed ordinaries – what the texture of the ordinary is for some it is not for others. As a consequence any discussion of the relationship among ordinary exhaustion, quasi-events, and endurance in the late liberal governance of difference must be situated within the various ways that eventfulness is distributed in late liberalism, such that people experience the kinds of events that make up their lives not only as ordinary but generalizable. We can think of the ordinary as the local spacing of eventfulness’. (2011) If nothing actually really happens until we reconstruct it in representation - after the fact; as second-order impressions - then the experience of these events as ordinary is also a representation; a construction. What is at play here is how extraordinary events of violence are folded into everyday routines – and vice versa. What may be experienced from one position as extraordinary events of violence (say the limitations experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic) could easily be described as routine life from another position (populations for whom social restrictions, shortage of resources, government control, travel restrictions, etc. have been ordinary life for a very long time). But also how what is experienced as extraordinary acts of violence from one position, is really carried out as routine acts of no extraordinary significance from another (e.g. the continuous pollution carried out by the westernised world and how it is felt quite violently on certain island communities in the south.) Povinelli writes: ‘The problem is that pointing to the quasi-events that lead to these catastrophes can quickly trivialize the problem. Quasi-events are a general condition of human social life. They are widespread (quasi-events occur across every actual and conceivable organisation of social life); they confound response (their slightness often occurs below the level of accountability); and they resist cause-effect characterisation (it is hard to say when they occurred let alone what caused them). But these general characteristics of the quasi-event mask the fact that they always occur within a socially differentiated world.’ (2011)

Back to Bad Luck
From the point of view of the event theory discussed above, Povinelli’s understanding of the event is a quite normative one. The event that she is discounting is not Deleuze’s event. According to Deleuze, that event which clearly breaks time and space, is merely a representation of events prior to the revelation of the representing moment. The event that Povinelli is proposing, as that which deflect liberal ethics and politics away from the harm of slow violence, is really then a mediation of eventfulness; something that we call an event but that is clearly only an occurrence that brings former events into light. In this sense the event is really a kind of non-event, unfolding in non-time, in truth… nothing. If the quasi-events for Povinelli, are interpreted to entail all those hidden, non-registered events that lead up to the reveal of a change in the reality of the thing, that Deleuze describes, then her emphasis on them as opposed to the event, somehow becomes about differences in representation; in nothingness. Her strategy involved in using the term quasi-event, may be a way to allow for the ‘almost event' to gain focus, but when she describes the event as counterpoint, and we follow a Deleuzian approach where ‘the event’ is only ever represented, then the quasi-events ends somehow as mere occurrences. We are back to bad luck.

What makes the quasi-event worth staying with, for me, is its temporal dimension. Representation or not, the way that the temporality of the event and the quasi-event oppose one another is key. The emphasis on the now of the former, against the slowness of the latter. The temporality of the former is one of temporal solidity and boundaries, where the latter exists in a temporal fluidity without boundaries; the bang versus slow erosion. Povinelli points out that the distinctions between event and quasi-event is collapsing. The collapse between the two, seems to stem from a reality where ‘the forms of the event have multiplied, proliferated, and lost their significance.’ (2018) The forms of the event here meaning the difference between what we would call catastrophic eventfulness or the event, and the quasi-event, or slow death, slow violence and slow harm. We still have the distinction between events and quasi-events but this distinction is collapsing, in the sense that no event seem to take on that form of eventality that makes you certain of your position on it. The proliferating takes on events, in the fluid echo-chamber of our media-scape, makes the ‘claim on your ethics [..] gooey and loose and dispersed’. (Povinelli, 2018) When nothing can really be claimed to constitute an event, since it is always already somehow pre-narrated and post-narrated, the significant visibility of this event takes on the insignificant invisibility of the quasi-event. The mediated emphasis on the evental is of course still very much in existence and avidly pushed by those who seek to implement the evental, in order to deflect attention away from slow harm; but it is just an image. And this image is bleeding from the multiplication, proliferation and losing of significance in the oversaturated landscape of subjective micro-events of mine-ness and fatigue of the apparatus of affection and ethics.

Repositioning the Quasi-Event
As I started to piece together the different components of the art work for Oceanic Horror, I began to think about the notion of the quasi-event as something that moved beyond that quite specific form in which Povinelli uses it. As I moved through the contemplative topology of this project it became apparent to me that the notion of existing within slow harm, could be unfolded onto other structures that exist somewhat more fluidly than the socially engaging projects that Povinelli emphasises the importance of. Existence within slow harm now also took the shape of a cognitive realm, where the wear and tear was rolling rampant, all experienced as occurrences happening exactly hereish and nowish. I began to think about slow harm as something not only affecting the bodies, the social and the way of live of the exploited. (In this I am also very much aware of my own position and how the way I have felt slow harm differs dramatically to how it has been experienced by others.) Instead the slow harm, or indeed the quasi-event, would now be situated where it might shape an undercurrent beneath a grinding machine of cynical optimism and a religion of progress. It is situated in the heartland of capitalism, in the current hegemony bedridden by the terminal crisis, in The United States of Amerikkka and the developed West. It is situated in the financial market; the structural ideology driving the advent of slow harm; the distributor of quasi-events. It is situated in the precarious cognitive worker, the culpable prosumer, the ideology-ridden content maker, the hypocrite political artist, the struggling cultural producer spearheading gentrification, the disembodied SoMe influencer, the indebted citizen, the disillusioned stockbroker and the medicated shit-poster. Here the quasi-event really takes on another temporal form; one that shapes a mangling of time; a time out of joint. Slowness substituted with anachronism; the herish and nowish substituted with the prolonged now.

The Catastrophe is Already Being Lived Through
I am thinking about time perspectives, that flow beyond past, present and future and into moments that stretch. I think of the quasi-event as a dragging out of the occurrence into an almost oceanic interconnected web of small occurrences all constituted by so many other occurrences. A timeliness that cuts across one specific time particular and rather slices into time. In its pure form not occurrences at all, no matter how small. It’s soup, really, no one part easily divided from the others. (A substance that sticks to and slides off your fingers simultaneously like some synthetic goo made for kids.) Feel the jitter of not being able to react on any occurrence, because the occurrence has yet to happen, it is happening, it has happened already, all this at the same time. It has no moment. There is no event. Or as Mark Fisher puts it in ‘Capitalist Realism’: ‘The catastrophe […] is neither waiting down the road, nor has it already happened. Rather, it is being lived through. There is no punctual moment of disaster; the world doesn’t end with a bang, it winks out, unravels, gradually falls apart. What caused the catastrophe to occur, who knows; its cause lies long in the past, so absolutely detached from the present to seem like the caprice of a malign being; a negative miracle, malediction which no penitence can ameliorate. Such a blight can only be eased by an intervention that can no more be anticipated than was the onset of the curse in the first place. Action is pointless; only senseless hope makes sense. Superstition and religion, the first resorts of the helpless, proliferates.’ (2009)

A Quasi-Evental Artistic Practice
My use of the quasi-event exists between Povinelli’s ideas about the quasi-event versus the event (and importantly the collapsing between the two) and Deleuze’s idea about the political event, as cutting through time, as pre-occurrences, as turns in reality that enters the world behind our backs. Deleuze’s temporal framing of the event opens up to the thinking of the quasi-event in similar temporal terms. I was searching for a way in which this quasi-eventfulness could be described as a temporal entity. A framing of this idea of an 'almost event' that would move it away from its relation to the very incident occurring, and rather into a purely temporal notion. In my work with temporal audio/visual art this notion of an 'almost event' has been bleeding through the material for a long time. I have always considered it a question of temporality – how the temporal setting of the work (inside it and outside of it) coexisted with the very temporality of the medium; how the occurring of time moments within the work, merged fluidly with the time qualities of its medium; a time in history equally important to the time it takes to run 24 frames past an image sensor; how the looping of the temporal art work instantly proposes the flatness of a dramatic temporal curve, offering no climaxes or build-ups in the nonlinearity of the thing that has no beginning. The temporal qualities of my artistic practice coexists with, and reflects, the structural temporal qualities that play out around this practice and its artistic output. Time spent with a work of art; the sense of time working inside your body as you spend this time; the time attributes of the entire structure surrounding the time you’re spending here (i.e. the opening hours of the art museum, the deadlines piling up at work, the limited leisure time that you have access to, the fear of missing out). And for the artist of the work, the time attributes surrounding it are numerous as well: the time it took to make it; the wage according to that time; the time in which it was made; the display time it steals from all the other works that could be on display here. To speak about the relationship to time unfolding in my practice is always a mirroring endeavour to a personal relationship to time untangling outside of this practice, outside the work, outside the personal, outside me. An extimate relationship really – debunking the whole drama of the intimate process of the feeling artist.

Prolonged Now
This coexistence between the contemplative, representational and artistic reworking of temporalities, and the temporality structurally imbedded in both presentation format, technical medium and surrounding reality forms an extimate relationship to time that I have labelled tempor(e)ality. In this tempor(e)ality the quasi-evental takes on a temporal configuration, one that swims through all aspects of time and place and makes every moment take place, already having taken place and about to take place, at the same time. I call this new temporal configuration of the quasi-event, ‘the prolonged now’. A now that stretches, front and back, between retention and protention, millennia into the future and deep down (how very linear of me) into the primordial soup. The quasi-event as prolonged now exists as a notion of fluid eventfulness, where all events can be said to occur and to not occur, to bear significance and to be utterly insignificant, to demand action and to deflect one from acting, to declare positions and to remain ungrounded. It takes the shape of durational shapeshifter – one that at one instant constitutes a moment, at another a lifetime, at yet another - time lost. The prolonged now is the moment hiding in the experienced indifference of the infinite scroll on a handheld device. It is the incident lost in the saturated landscape of constant distractions and calls of attention to the next thing. It is the weariness of apathy. It is the jittering restlessness of wanting to react but have nowhere to act from. It is the notion of everything constantly recurring, happening again rebooting – the notion that everything returns, not because of a certain understanding of time and space as something resembling a Möbius band and time-reality somehow bound to repeat itself, no not that, everything returns because we insist on bringing it back. It is a nerve-chilling plot really. A person stuck in a reality of recurrent acts done intentionally and unintentionally at the very same time. Ultimately what the prolonged now seeks to enable is a way to maintain focus on the blur of our tempor(e)ality; a way to identify and stay with the fluid temporal reality of our contemporary everyday life and its impeding crises, and to create a speculative temporally determined space from where we can collectively counter-act.