The Underside of Time

2020

Commission for The Arts Institute, Plymouth University: moving image work responding to the theme Everything has changed. Nothing has changed. Change is coming.  

The Present as a future archaeological past is, currently, often identified as the Anthropocene. This contested term, however, continues to calibrate our human-scale perception of time as central to deep pasts and deep futures. This proposal draws upon a recent collaboration with a paleo-archaeologist, to question that calibration, and to consider ‘change’ within these massive scales. In doing so, our current emergencies are folded into different perspectives – ones which paradoxically marks the present moment as the most crucial moment of all.

In November 2019 I collaborated with Paleo-archaeologist Suzi Richer on the Hothouse Residency hosted by art.earth at Dartington. Some of the questions that surfaced were: How can we un-map, backwards? What is revealed in the shift from the polar view to the equatorial view? What stories might evolve as companions in a changing world? What can we do with furrows, spores, apertures and spikes? Could hydrophobic materials adapt back towards their origins? Do humans just need to get over themselves? Could metals become future pollinators? How would oxidisation fold into future fertility narratives? And so forth.

Timefullness, says Marcia Bjornerud, references literacy in relation to the longer view. She says ‘We need a poly-temporal worldview to embrace the overlapping rates of change that our world runs on, especially the huge, powerful changes that are mostly invisible to us’. The Underside of Time is an evocation of these insights, realised through visual and sonic metaphor.

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