Experiments with time: technology, art and temporality

Barker, T. (2011) Experiments with time: technology, art and temporality. In: NIEA Experimental Arts Conference, Sydney, Australia, 19-20 Aug 2011,

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Publisher's URL: http://blogs.unsw.edu.au/niea-experimentalartsconference/


This paper discusses artworks that experiment with digital technologies, using them in ways beyond their conventional application. In particular, I focus on the way these works might tell us something unique about the relationship between digital technology and time. Based on Michel Serres' view of history as a drawing together of multiple temporalities, I explore Masaki Fujihata's Field Works @ Alsace, Janet Cardiff's Her Long Black Hair and the iCinema project T_Visionarium as examples of experimental artworks that use technology to experiment with time, outside of its representation as a directional line or arrow. Serres provides me with a concept of time in which each moment of the present has multiple scales of the past nested within itself, similar to Russian Dolls. For Serres in order to understand time we need to abandon concepts of linearity and "the old logic of causality", instead adopting a turbulent model of history, which combines and integrates different times together. Rather than developing according to a line, Serres' time is more like an accumulation or a storm front. This paper examines how a set of artistic experiments with digital technology - using delays, databases and the simultaneous projection of moving images - extends Serres' concepts of time, providing new opportunities to aesthetically experience multi-temporality. In the 1980's Michel Serres' work took a decidedly experimental turn, marked by lightness, caprice and associativeness. This makes him an ideal philosopher to be encountered with the experimental art described in this paper, with its emphasis on pushing technologies beyond their usual function. There is thus a freeness of associations emergent in both Serres' experiments in philosophy and experimental art, which might provide a new way to understand time, both philosophically and aesthetically.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barker, Professor Timothy
Authors: Barker, T.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
College/School:College of Arts > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies

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