In and Out of Time

Posted on Friday 13 October 2006

We had a nice visit for Georgia’s class today at the MOMAs show “Out of Time/A Contemporary View”. One of the strengths of the class is the discourse about art and creation that is missing at ITP. People make many things but there is never much discussion about what the inspiration is and what might be different or improved from a creative standpoint, instead there is much technical talk.

Today we got the treat of having Georgia in her element talking about art and artists.

One of my favorite pieces was the ” + and – ” by Mona Hatoum.


The motion of the “arm” or rake as it rotated would simultaneously rake and erase as it swept around the sand pit in a clock like motion. In general terms this piece was all about the concepts of drawing/erasing, existence/non-existence and the like. Beyond the conceptual intent of the artist or the intellectual projection of intent by critics is my interest in the experience of the experience of the object in the viewers mind.

I had a very real distortion of the advancing of one action over another, despite the real fact that the two motions were equal I had the increasing perception that the carving of the sand might be in fact winning and vice versa depending on the focus of my vision and concentration.

The real physiological effect is one I read about in the book “mind hacks”, below is an exerpt from the book used under the “fair use” doctrine, if you are interested please go buy the book. It goes like this:

Sometimes you’ll glance at a clock and the second hand
appears to hang, remaining stationary for longer than
it ought to. For what seems like a very long moment,
you think the clock may have stopped. Normally you
keep looking to check and see that shortly afterward
the second hand starts to move again as
normal—unless, that is, it truly has stopped.

This phenomenon has been dubbed the stopped clock
illusion. You can demonstrate it to yourself by
getting a silently moving clock and placing it off to
one side. It doesn’t need to be an analog clock with a
traditional second hand; it can be a digital clock or
watch, just so long as it shows seconds. Position the
clock so that you aren’t looking at it at first but
can bring the second hand or digits into view just by
moving your eyes. Now, flick your eyes over to the
clock (i.e., make a saccade [Hack #15] ). The movement
needs to be as quick as possible, much as might happen
if your attention had been grabbed by a sudden sound
or thought [Hack #37] ; a slow, deliberate movement
won’t cut it. Try it a few times and you should
experience the “stopped clock” effect on some attempts
at least.

Link to clip:

The next piece that seemed to capture the area of time was Bill Viola’s piece below:


There was alot of talk in our group at the gallery and apparently some criticism in writings about this artist. The piece itself was quite nice, but there were some misgivings about the addition of black stone slabs that reflected the video piece.

Please visit Artsy’s Bill Viola page (

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