There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: one based in materialism, that understands time as a substance that exists independently of events taking place within it, and the relational view, according to which time is constructed of events, and exists merely as a measure of change.
What does it mean to talk about "one's own time"? Is that equivalent to "one's own change"? Wouldn't then one's own time be unstuck, and follow an internal logic where duration is no longer a homogenous concept?
Julieta Aranda's work is often concerned with both time and the conditions of subjectivity. In her exhibition at Gallery Niklas Belenius Between timid and Timbuktu: (a time without events) she explores the conflicting ideas about time to try to propose a position between change and possibility, a temporal vacuum that functions as a ripe nothingness, where subject, event and truth can emerge.
In the Timaeus, Plato presents us with an account of the 'birth of time,' this being the first motion of the heavenly bodies, thus making an identification between time and change. Aristotle objects to this, arguing that time could not be the same thing as change, for first change can go at different rates, but not so time, and secondly change is confined to a part of space whereas time is universal. According to the book of Genesis, there are at least two instances where the beginning of time makes an appearance: On the first day of creation, where time appears as a by-product of the separation between night and day. But this is a frozen, event-less, unconcerned time, where there is difference without change. It is only on the 4th day, as the stars, moon and sun make an appearance as human measuring devices, that time starts moving.
This tension between the first and the fourth day, between incommensurable time and the will to measure and contain it, is a returning interest for Julieta Aranda. On her current work, the uninhabited reflections of mirrors into mirrors, printed on mirrors, argue for an equivalence between "empty time" and "time without change." She investigates time as a non-measurable concept, where, in her own words, "time independent of change means that instead of infinite delay, the present becomes a space of infinite action that is not contractually bound to "what has been" and "what there is to come." And as a nod to all things unstuck in time, she borrows the title of a fictional poetry book that appears in Kurt Vonnegut's novel, The Sirens of Titan, Between Timid and Timbuktu (a title derived from the fact that all the words between "timid" and "Timbuktu" in small dictionaries relate to time.)
According to Aristotle, attempts to stop time are futile, for we cannot stop change. But what if all change were to stop? Would that be the end of time too?
May 26–June 23, 2011
Between Timid and Timbuktu: (a time without events)
Gallery Niklas Belenius