ON THE DURATION OF TIME
The notion of time as something mechanical, objective and measurable by a machine, conceived as a mathematical variable that seems to increasingly control our lives. As with modern science, the time that rules us is understood quantitatively, as a discontinuous extension, a straight line that can be infinitely divided into instants that aren’t necessarily related. Everything passes as if there is no sequence, nor accumulation of the past in the present. Nowadays, as well as lack of memory, it seems we are also loosing the notion of the duration of time, as time lived, disassociated to the movement of continually planned moments.
Ivan’s work presented, permits us to reflect on questions related to time and memory. It is composed of a closed circuit where a video camera, which faces and captures images from a rectangular aquarium containing a live Goldfish, the image is transmitted to a monitor, which has the same proportions of the aquarium and also faces it. Between the camera and the monitor there is an apparatus, which gives a three second delay to the live image. In this way the fish, which as we know has a three second memory-span, can see it’s recent past, which would otherwise not be able to reach.
Here the public can witness both the present and the past simultaneously, the fish and its actions of a few seconds before. Further to allowing these times to symbolically co-exist, otherwise dissociated by the lack of memory, the circuit elaborated by the artist aims to reconnect the past to the present as if it is were possible, duplicating the images, prolonging them. The artist’s project appears to recover the notion of time as something infinite. By pointing the video camera to the transparent aquarium, part of the image created by it, and transmitted to the monitor, is once again captured, infinitely duplicating itself. The three-second delays are also multiplied in the same way.
Perhaps from this time, of mechanical and measurable technology, which tends to objectify everything, we are able to recreate identical and disconnected instants, within a constant flux. After all, as a moment a passes by, it contains not only part of what precedes it but also a part of what succeeds it. This distances us from the thought of time as something that can be divided into equally divided intervals and permits it to be conceived as an immeasurable continuous passage, hence, as pure duration.
CAUÊ ALVES | PROFESSOR OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM OF THE ESCOLA DA CIDADE, UNIVERSITY OF COMMUNICATION OF FAAP AND CURATOR OF THE CLUBE DE GRAVURA, MAM-SP | 2006