Wednesday, 3 July 2013

shuttle 17: rocking (in time)

'It was the high point of his morning. Change the canaries. Feed the mule. Stand transfixed for half an hour' 

(Sam Shepard, Motel Chronicles & Hawk Moon, London: Faber, 1982)
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'"The blur of technology, this is where the oracles plot their wars. Because now comes the introversion. Father Teilhard knew this, the omega point. A leap out of our biology. Ask yourself this question? Do we have to be human forever? Consciousness is exhausted. Back now to inorganic matter. This is what we want. We want to be stones in a field" ... 

Every lost moment is the life. It's unknowable except to us, each of us inexpressibly, this man, that woman. Childhood is lost life reclaimed every second, he said. Two infants alone in a room, in dimmest light, twins, laughing. Thirty years later, one in Chicago, one in Hong Kong, they are the issue of that moment. 

A moment, a thought, here and gone, each of us, on a street somewhere, and this is everything. I wondered what he meant by everything. It's what we call self, the true life, he said, the essential being. It's self in the soft wallow of what it knows, and what it knows is that it will not live forever ...

The landscape began to seem normal, distance was normal, heat was weather and weather was heat. I began to understand what he meant when he said that time is blind here. Beyond the local shrubs and cactus, only waves of space, occasional far thunder, the wait for rain, the gaze across the hills to a mountain range that was there yesterday, lost today in lifeless skies'. 

(Don DeLillo, Point Omega, London: Picador, 2010)
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Bill Viola - ‘In 1981, I made a videotape in Japan, Hatsu Yume ('First Dream'), in which there is one sequence where a fixed camera views a rock on a mountainside over a long period of time. When it comes on the screen, the images are moving 20 times normal speed, and gradually, in a series of stages, it slows down to real-time, and eventually to extreme slow-motion.

People usually describe that scene by saying, “ … the part where the people are all slowed down while moving round the rock”. What I looked at in that scene is the rock, not so much the people. I thought it would be interesting to show a rock in slow motion. All that is really happening is that the rock’s time, its rate of change, exceeds the sampling rate (the recording time of the video), whereas the people are within that range. So the rock just sits there, high speed, slow speed … it doesn’t matter.

I think about time in that way. There are windows or wavelengths of perception. They are simultaneous and interwoven at any one moment, but we are tuned only to a certain frequency range. This is directly related to scale changes in space or sound, proportion in architecture and music. A fly lives for a week or two, and a rock exists for thousands or millions of years’.

From Bill Viola (1995), Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House: Writings 1973-1994, London: Thames & Hudson / Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 151
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'Hatsu yume' is a Japanese term for the first prophetic dream in the new year. Viola: 'I was thinking about light and its relation to water and to life, and also its opposite - darkness or the night and death. Video treats light like water; it becomes fluid on the video tube. Water supports the fish like light supports man. Land is the death of the fish; darkness is the death of man'.

Photo at top: Ansel Adams, 'Rock and Cloud, King's River Canyon' (California), 1936. 


Left: Glen Baxter drawing
“I was thinking about light and its relation to water and to life, and also its opposite — darkness or the night and death. Video treats light like water — it becomes fluid on the video tube. Water supports the fish like light supports man. Land is the death of the fish — darkness is the death of man.” - See more at: http://www.stedelijk.nl/en/artwork/9443-hatsu-yume-first-dream#sthash.UnxqBMN7.dpuf
“I was thinking about light and its relation to water and to life, and also its opposite — darkness or the night and death. Video treats light like water — it becomes fluid on the video tube. Water supports the fish like light supports man. Land is the death of the fish — darkness is the death of man.” - See more at: http://www.stedelijk.nl/en/artwork/9443-hatsu-yume-first-dream#sthash.UnxqBMN7.dpuf
“I was thinking about light and its relation to water and to life, and also its opposite — darkness or the night and death. Video treats light like water — it becomes fluid on the video tube. Water supports the fish like light supports man. Land is the death of the fish — darkness is the death of man.” - See more at: http://www.stedelijk.nl/en/artwork/9443-hatsu-yume-first-dream#sthash.UnxqBMN7.dpuf

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