Time is a most fraught concept. We measure it, plan for it, spend it, (sometimes waste it) yet we are in control of it no more so than we are in control of when we are born. Even with this conflicted relationship to time, we have a profound, experiential understanding of time that is supremely evident in every grey hair, every built muscle, every sunrise. Timing is why we can’t get that song out of our heads; it’s why we laugh when David Cross unexpectedly riffs on confetti. Because we occupy space, we understand it takes time to get ourselves from here to there. In short: We get time; our concept of Time is thoroughly lacking.
That lack results from the the overarching myth of our epoch: representation. This stands for that. With such a myth ordering our concept of time, repetition is understood as Variation, where repetition is really Disguised Sameness, i.e “They are all just pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge.” Repetition as Variation is set up as the opposite of Difference – that which strains the subtraction of representation to the point where we need some new identity to represent it – a catastrophe that either breaks continuity in the series of resemblances or blows to bits analogical structures. No matter what you think of representation, surely it can be said that it really negs on both the difference and repetition that animates experience.
Difference is not the opposite of sameness. It is that which multiplies in repetition. It is that which we ‘get’ with time: action invented, again and again, in nomadic distribution, always existential, always a multiplicity. You can take a picture in the same spot for an infinite number of days and it will always be its own invention. Repetition is not a calcified rut multiplied by the rote, to the power of boredom. It is that structure which enables our brains to map being alive.
Plastic is a most fraught material. It is a human triumph in durable, cheap utility. It is death. It attracts the eye and repulses reason. It is in arm’s reach and buried far to deep in the earth. Combined with the differentiation and re-assemblage of photographic images, plastic as lamination is both a repetition of, and a difference from, alienation. Parts of images go into the machine, get heated up, and come out enclosed, individualized, sealed off. Yet combined with other similar strata they form a three-dimensional dreamscape, separate from reality yet animated by its possibility. The Time Colossus is a project I started as an experiment in Difference and Repetition – as experience wholly unhinged from representation and it’s lack, as plastic as both the cause of and solution to alienation.
To state another way:
I run everyday.
I run everyday across the Brooklyn Bridge (though sometimes not).
Between December 26, 2006 and April 1, 2010, everyday I ran across the Bridge and took a photograph, until my camera broke, in a cosmic comedic move, no longer able to repeat in a way I deemed satisfactory.
For a period between June 1, 2009 and July 2, 2011, I laminated 365 tri-tiered Brooklyn Bridges.
Make no mistake. Each lamination is not a commemoration or representation of a run or a day. Rather each run and each day invents and repeats in advance all laminations.
Each lamination is not a commemoration or representation of that thing that rose out of the East River by the mathematical forces of Engineering, Politics, and Labor between the years of 1869 and 1883 (five years prior to George Eastman offering the first Kodak camera for sale). Rather, that Colossus of rock and steel stands in advance of all the feet that will pound across it.
Certainly these laminations and the Brooklyn Bridge are not equal. This repetition in laminated love is unequal to Variation; this repetition in laminated love is unequal to The Same; It is a deconstruction of time and reconstruction of time.
I repeat…mostly the words of a defenestrated philosopher, Gilles Deleuze