April 6th, 2017
April 6th, 2017
How do we perceive the passage of time?
While I was sitting there, listening to the performers of ChampdAction rehearse and then perform Apparitions of The 27:28 Symmetry under The 72:81:88 Differential Cirrus at the Transit Festival, something dawned on me. Recently I have been performing in most of my own work, and, due to the duration of the works I’ve been developing, we rarely get to do the whole thing. With this piece for ChampdAction, the work is so short (just over an hour) that I was able to hear it, from an “audience” perspective, three times in a row. The work itself is tightly timed, utilizing a complex process to control pitch decisions, and so the actual duration of each run I experienced was identical, but the feeling of the duration was entirely unique.
The first run felt quick and short. There was lots of silence and time flew by. In the second run, the performers went in the opposite direction, with very few silences, and the work crawled past at a glacial pace. The actual length of 77 minutes felt completely different. More than just short or long, the passage of time had a different ephemeral quality each round.
During the performance, something truly special happened. The performers found the ideal balance of stasis, movement, and silence, and the time of the work stood in limbo. Moments came out where it felt as if time had stopped completely, crystallizing still around us. The effect reminded me of the Ganzfeld effects I had experienced with Turrell’s work: The void in front of you comes rushing forward, flattened, or the sky comes right down into the plane of the ceiling. In the performance, time rushed, and stopped, and crawled, and shifted.
This was the epiphany.
For the last seven years I have refined and perfected my tonal language, and now I continue the process of refining other aspects of my work. Time is the crucial element I have been working toward, and the visual and environmental concerns of my work support these concepts. The projections move at such a slow pace that change becomes almost imperceptible, until you focus on it and can sense it moving, or your attention wanders and, upon seeing it again, the work looks changed, but your memory can’t quite recall its past. The elements work together to distort time in complex ways that I’m just now beginning to comprehend.
My work exists in time and because of time, but it can also mold it. If I develop methods to control how we perceive time – on a grand scale and at the microcosmic level – and root my work in this new practice of perception, I can highlight these moments of chronostasis and encourage you to consider the construct of Time in new ways.
Next week, I will present my first major work since this revelation: The Four Pillars Appearing from The Resonating Discs invoking The 72:81:88 Confluence in a setting of Quadrilateral Starfield Symmetry ATS4 Base 6:81 written for and performed by TIGUE.