TIME’S SHADOW

Een interdisciplinair kunstproject over de tijd.

Time’s shadow is een initiatief van beeldend kunstenaar Jaap de Jonge en schrijfster/filosofe Joke J. Hermsen over tijd en bewustzijn. Het project wil het denken over de tijd door filosofen en wetenschappers verbinden aan de verbeelding van de tijd door beeldend kunstenaars en schrijvers. De afgelopen jaren is de tijd het onderwerp geweest van veel wetenschappelijke studies, filosofische essays, dichtbundels en beeldende kunsttentoonstellingen. De recente ineenstorting van het economische machtscentrum op Wall Street heeft de noodzaak de tijd als een ander dan louter economisch principe te overdenken nog vergroot. Het Time’s shadow project bestaat behalve uit een ‘open source’ website over de tijd, ook uit een expositie, een essaybundel en een educatief schoolproject over de tijd.

About us

Jaap de Jonge (1957), www.jaapdejonge.nl, is a multi-media artist, who works on a wide range of projects, from interactive design to public art. His installations and kinetic objects have been shown in major museums and festivals across Europe, Japan, Australia, and South America. Joke J. Hermsen (1961), www.jokehermsen.nl, is a writer and philosopher, working at the intersections of art, science and philosophy. After her essay-collection Heimwee naar de mens (shortlist best philosophical book 2003), she prepares now a book on Time and Consciousness (Arbeiderspers 2009) So far de Jonge & Hermsen have realized three projects together: (1)‘Elke mening telt’. A visual essay and animation film (2007). Winner of the Martin van Amerongen publieksprijs 2007. (2) A serie of essays, graphics and animations. (2008) and (3) Docu-trailer of the novel De liefde dus (Arbeiderspers 2008)


Introduction


Our experience of time has been fundamentally changed during the last hundred years. On the one hand, there seems to be an accelaration of time, everything seems to move quicker and change sooner, on the other hand there is a growing sense of lack of time. Technological development has led us to a strange paradox: the more time-saving machines we have developed during the last century, the busier we became, and the less time we seem to have. The rather strict time-regime of Western economics – introducing clock-time and the ‘time = money’ principle- has increased the economic notion of the scarcity of time. Social accelaration, created by the digital world, offered great opportunities for world-wide communication, but also turned our spare moments of free time into on-line moments. We are running after time, and time is running after us. We seem to have forgotten that there are at least two different time-dimensions, western and eastern philosophers have described since ancient times. The time of society, of history, of economy and law on the one hand, and a dimension of time which is more difficult to describe, since it expresses not a measurable, standarized Greenwich time, but a time pattern that stretches along far more subjective patterns. In this ‘other’ time dimension - which can be experienced during moments of deep concentration, of ‘flow’, of creation and meditation - time no longer has one lineair direction: present and future are often intertwined. Time’s shadow wants to explore this other time-dimension, that due to this more circulair pattern show some ressemblance with the fourth dimension of time in modern physics.

Our perception of time has been fundamentally challenged by modern physics and philosophy. The physicist Eddington already pointed out that physical laws are believed to be entirely time symmetric, yet when we describe things in reality this is not the case at all: there is only one obvious direction of time: a scrambled egg does not become unscrambled again. He called this principle Time’s arrow. Since Einsteins relativity theory, time can no longer be seen as an independent, absolute entity, but rather as a relative phenomenon. His concept of spacetime combines space and time within a single coordinate system, typically with four dimensions: length, width, height, and time. Formerly time was believed to be a constant, which progressed at a fixed rate; however, later experiments revealed that time slowed down at higher speeds (time-dilation). Quantum-physics discovered that at the smallest level of elementary particles, time and space even seem, in a mysterious way, to dissapear. Also, the so-called uncertainty principle of Heisenberg states that we can not measure the position and the momentum of a particle at the same time. This uncertainty-principle is often related to the so called observer effect: a particle will change it’s nature while being observed.

This observer effect also lies at the basis of all artistic endeauvour, claims the scientist van Gelderen in her dissertation ‘Scrambling Unscrambled’ (2008). In observing the object, the artist and the observer will, every time the work of art is observed, change the very nature of the object. Art and science are not fundamentally different, since the above principle of uncertainty might as well be used to describe that of the artist and the object he/she aims to represent. The interdisciplinary art-project Time’s shadow deals with the influences all these different physical laws have on our notions of time. Time’s shadow also wants to explore the possibilities of other non-lineair time-directions, such as: memories, flow, reminiscences, déjà vu’s, ‘back to the future’ and others. It raises fundamental questions about time and consciousness, such as: ‘where does time go?’, ‘to whom time belongs?’, ‘is there more then one time-dimension?’ and ‘did time have a beginning?’. But above all, it is a creative journey through different visualisations and articulations of the experience of time, in order to represent artistically the greatest mysterie of mankind and contemporary physics: time.