What is this duration? The experience of time; my time, your time, their time. Time waits for no-one. But we are time. For surely it is only with the experience of consciousness, with memories, perceptions and ideas for the future that time can be constructed. Time is not the same for everyone, the experience of time can speed up or slow down. It’s a messy thing time. Not at all really like a clock.
Perhaps more a delicate and ephemeral construct; intangible, subjective, susceptible to influence and to interpretation. It is constrained as much by the physical body of our being, as the conceptual and social construct of our identity… that we are very fragile beings in a sea of chaos which throughout our sane and healthy there is a feeling of entitlement to somehow grasp it, record it, take it, share it… but what happens when time breaks down, when time does not exist as it once did.
With this in mind I embarked on a tentative exploration of duration. But where to begin? So much to read, so much to see. Not enough time. So I looked inside. Time was here right now. It was going, but, going nowhere.
In a crude sharing of my time I broadcast the sound of my heart beat. It was forced drum, unnerved by an audience but it carried on beating. And while my heart beat faster my time slowed down, as I thought it might. I remember intimately the moments of the performance, but interestingly it is visual memories that linger, or which I can recall most easily. I wonder if I caught them at my diastole or systole. For it has been discovered that emotional resonance is influenced by the heart cycle[ii]. A fearful encounter will be that much more fearful if encountered at systole, on the beat.
I wonder what it would be like for the audience. Did they discover their collusion? Was the black clothing too macabre? Was the heart beat a cliché? Was the image too ironic? Was the audio too imperfect? Was it too much about me? How do you give this experience to the viewer? Could a cacophony of heart beat be shared by a group of people?
“Time is the substance from which I am made. Time is a river which carries me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger that devours me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire that consumes me, but I am the fire. The world unfortunately, is real; I unfortunately, am Borges.”[i] Jorge Luis Borges
[i] Borges, Jorge Luis, Jorge Luis Borges Labyrinths Selected Stories and Other Writings, ed Yeats, Donald A. and Irby, James E., Penguin, London, England 1962. PP269
[ii] Neuro-scientists Professor Hugo Critchley and Dr Sarah Garfinkel, of Brighton and Sussex Medical School have discovered that the what stage the heart cycle is in at the point we see a threatening situation has a quantifiable effect on how emotionally effected we will be by the situation. http://www.sussex.ac.uk/internal/bulletin/staff/2013-14/09052014/hearbeat_impacts_perception_of_fear