LET'S ALL SLOW DOWN TIME TOGETHER
video installation/ intervention, 2022, 6’
The installation falls within my visual research project 'The solace of open spaces', an audiovisual landscape study on our sensorial relations towards open spaces/viewing points and its societal function as a public space for contemplation.
There is an unspoken value in the communal experience of watching a sunset. As I researched this communal and societal activity, I found out that on a first and immediate level the pleasure consists of an enjoyable sensorial choreography of colours and movement. Research shows that watching the sun pass over the horizon stimulates the pineal gland as the direct sunlight hits the eye, moves through retinal-hypothalamic tract and then hits the brain. This boosts the secretion of melatonin and serotonin, our feel-good hormones, as well as creates an emotional state of being in “awe”, that slows down your perception of time.
‘LET’S ALL SLOW DOWN TIME TOGETHER' is based on this proven fact that the emotional state of being in awe, prolongs your own perception of time. I wanted to empower the public to regain control over time by watching this image, that is based on the awe-creating sensorial experiences of beholding a sunset.
It consists of a digitally created image that mimics the proportions, movement and colours and shapes of a sunset, solely created by the diffusion or density of digital colours. By watching, the public is confronted and reintroduced with the element of time, regaining a sense of control, by elongating their perception of these minutes themselves. The activity becomes than a symbolic intervention by all coming together to prolong our individual perceptions of these minutes, thus communally creating a slower pace at that moment in that room together, creating a sense of empowerment and community.
Sharing a state of contemplation is a disappearing public act. There are only few places left in public space that elicits a communal and open secular experience of reflection. After two years of on and off-lockdowns it became clear that not only the obvious personal social activity was vital, but the unspoken communal activity in the public space is one that defines us as well as a society. Watching the sunset together is still one that people cherish, an act that still mobilises a diverse crowd. It can bring people together in creating an energy of a secular, but sacred shared moment. This communal moment I wanted to emulate during my residency at Cité Internationale des Arts, I wanted the installation to become an activity and I wanted the active presence of the public to complete this work. In a time where we often feel out of control, we are coming together and feeling empowered on the back of a natural phenomena that is accessible to everyone.
Together with my fellow Cité Internationale des Arts de Paris-resident Maria Wildeis, a Köln-based sound artist, we collaborated on the sound based on this concept. It started with the addition of a church bell, which was cropped, slowed down and played in reverse, so that its known attributes were blurred. The bells are slowly replaced by the sound of hissing birds. The church bell itself has a very rich texture and is therefore a great fixed sound to manipulate its time structure. Also the church bell itself draws attention to the social role of churches within time structuring in Europe, before the inauguration of a global time at the end of the 19th century. Before this, villages had been time regulated acoustically mainly through the chronology of church bells. All this forms a soundscape which encourages the meditative quality of the intervention.
Made in frame of an artist residency at Cité Internationale des Arts de Paris.