We Are Time

Posted by Stoffel Debuysere | Tue Oct 13th 2009 5:16 a.m.


“All will be now. Dreams are too fast. You are the first. We are the last.
No sequence to follow. No fear of tomorrow. Kiss of neverness. Life of timelessness
We’ll break the speed of change. we’ll tame eternity.”
- The Pop group, ‘We Are Time’

We Are Time

In the context of the programme “Accelerated Living”, part of IMPAKT FESTIVAL 2009, 14-18 October 2009, Utrecht, NL. www.impakt.nl. Curated by Stoffel Debuysere and Maria Palacios Cruz

14-18 October, AAMU, Flatland Gallery, Academie Galerie

The passing of time is something we feel intimately familiar with, and yet it continuously slips away from us. Centuries ago, St. Augustine already caught this tension in words: “What is Time? If nobody asks me, I know; but if I were desirous to explain it to one that should ask me, plainly I know not.” The invention of clock time provided a partial solution: time was rationalised, adjusted to the rhythms of growing industrialisation. This transformation - symbolically completed with the introduction of standard time and the division of the world into time zones - resonated deeply in our social and cultural lives. The experience-based understanding of time was replaced by a rigid, linear and numerical logic which has gradually become embedded in our subconscious. The arrival of ICT and globalisation has pierced this unilateral and troublesome relationship. Ironically enough, the dawning of the computer age -the main source of today’s acceleration - has allowed for new perspectives on the role and potential of time. This exhibition takes that openness as a starting point and presents a series of works which each in their own way strive for a particular time awareness. Different dimensions of time, both social and natural, objective and subjective, are unfolded, deformed and combined, in search for new forms of perception and imagination of time.


Guido van der Werve
Nummer negen. The day I didn’t turn with the world
Timelapse photography, single channel HD video

What happens when you take a day off, refusing to turn along with the world? One may think that such a day void of any motion and action has no consequences. Van der Werve took this question literally and left for the North Pole, where he spent 24 hours on the axis of the world. For one whole day he did not move along with Earth, but let the planet rotate around him. This almost Copernican inversion is both absurd and poetic, grotesque and moving. A tiny figure in the middle of a white icy plane, in a solitary fight against the tyranny of calendar calculations and the ticking of the clock.

Julieta Aranda
You Had No Ninth of May!
Various materials. Dimensions variable

The work of Julieta Aranda challenges conventional notions of temporal experience, proposing alternatives to the rigidity with which time is conceived and measured. The primary source of inspiration for this installation is the International Date Line (IDL), an imaginary line on the globe that separates two consecutive calendar days, establishing the boundary between today and tomorrow. Although the precise location of IDL is not fixed by any international agreement, it is commonly identified as being 180° longitude from the Greenwich Meridian. The line crosses the Kiribati archipelago in the South Pacific, causing an aberration in our assumed time-space continuum.


Vadim Fishkin
A Speedy Day
Electronic clock, light installation, room construction. Light Design: AJ Weissbard

A light installation that compresses an entire day (24h) into 2.5 minutes: the experience of a day passing as if we were in a space rocket travelling away from Earth at a velocity of 299,782 (only 10 km/sec slower than the speed of light). A homage to Albert Einstein and his “twins paradox”, a thought experiment in special relativity involving a couple of twins that demonstrates that if one of them set out on a journey into space and back, they would no longer be the same age, and yet neither would be younger. The installation becomes an isolation cell where we let go of our conventional sense of time.

Jonas Dahlberg
Three Rooms
3 channel video installation on 46 inch monitors

Three different rooms (living room, dining room and bedroom) with similar everyday furniture are shown on three screens. During the course of 26 minutes the objects in the rooms dissolve, leaving only the lighting and the bare space. Time seems to unfold at a pace that is both slow and infinitely fast: the gradual process of disappearance takes place at a slower rate than we normally associate with movement and destruction, but we also experience it as an acceleration of biological and geological time. We feel the natural force that inevitably leads towards the erosion and dissolution of all forms. What remains is a desolation beyond subjectivity.


Glenn Kaino
Quarter Mile
3 channel video installation on 50 inch monitors

The most recent installation in Glenn Kaino’s ‘Time Machines’ series is a cinematographic triptych displaying the journey of three characters each travelling the distance of a quarter mile (=400 metres) in their own environment: jazz musician Olu Dara, beach volleyball player Sinjin Smith and Formula D racer Kenji Yamanaka. The sequences are synchronized so they all take the same time, in spite of their original speed. Every action is repeated several times, always at a different rhythm. The movement of each character is essentially bound to the performances of the other two, challenging our relationship to time, distance and speed.

Guy Sherwin
Clock Screen
16 mm projector, film loop, clock, paper screen

A time-lapse film with images of the shifting sunlight is projected onto a small rotating screen attached to the hand of a clock. The shaft of sunlight changes its shape as a result of Earth and screen revolving. It creates an unexpected dynamics between the abstract, socially constructed clock-time, the natural cycle of Earth’s rotation and the temporality of film medium, resulting in a meditation on the complexity of our experience of time.

Thomson & Craighead
Video installation, Internet connection

A narrative clock made out of images extracted in real time from webcams found in every time zone around the world. The result is a constantly changing array of images that read like a series of movie storyboards, but also as an idiosyncratic electronic sundial. This installation pinpoints the tension between local time and the Internet’s global time regime. In spite of the attempts to introduce an online standard time, natural and cultural time differences cannot be ignored.
  • Astrology Mike | Sun Oct 18th 2009 5:58 a.m.
    too long,time is important
  • River Hunt | Sun Oct 25th 2009 5:50 a.m.
    Thanks for sharing, I really enjoyed looking through these works.

    I liked the work of Guido van der Werve in particular, the idea of being at the centre of rotation, a point at which everything else revolves. Occupying that space and just being- still, appreciating movement and time from that unique position. Wonderful.

Your Reply