The theories of the early 20th century French philosopher Henri Bergson have deeply influenced my multimedia installations. The Wall Clock Series is inspired by Bergson’s concepts of time and creativity. Bergson merged three distinct time frames he believed should be adopted by a balanced creative society. They are: the cadence of human biological time, the patterns of time found in Nature and the variable temporal systems particular to each culture. Bergsonists see the rhythms of Nature as synonymous with the Duration of the artist’s creative act. Thus by using Bergson’s formula for a system of time, a society can achieve the balanced mindset of an artist during the act of creation.
The standardization of time and space destroys the balance of Bergson’s Creative Duration by turning its back on the unique identity provided by the environment of the Local. There is a breakdown of older cultural patterns as the regimented Modern system of time is embraced over local time.
According to geographer David Harvey, the clocks and bells that called the workers to work and merchants to the market were heard and adopted by the peasants in the field, separating them from the natural rhythms of agrarian life. Urban merchants had created a chronological net that would eventually ensnare the world.
The Wall Clock Series is a series of miniature video installations that are set in shadow boxes. Each of the boxes’ unique collages incorporates miniature LCD flat screens, tiny video cameras, mirrors, clocks and lights. Representing the invisible virtual reality of time, the face of the clocks is hidden from direct view. There is a closed circuit image of the clock on the miniature monitors. Also a mirror is placed so a reflection of the clock can be seen. One of the paradoxes of mirrors is that in a reflection a clock appears to be going backwards. So the technological representation of time is accurate while the refection shows time in retreat. This is the Modernist’s mistaken conceit. Technology triumphs. There is no progress without technologically mediated, tightly controlled time.
May 2, 2010