Monday, May 19, 2008


I have a few ideas about the concept of time.

Time as Perception

First, I think it is really about perception. Humans observe time in many ways, but I am more interested in time from an experiential and emotional standpoint. Basically I am interested in memories. Those are really nothing but remembered experiences, or snapshots of time.

If you were in class last Wednesday you might remember when I had someone shout out a verb and then we did that action (run) - or some of us did... :-) No mention was made of it for the rest of the class, which I found to be pretty interesting. No one said anything like, "What the hell...?" or "That was weird." Nothing. No one questioned it, or even mentioned how odd it was to spontaneously stop what we were doing and do something completely different. We just did it (or not...) Well, I am bringing it up now. Think about that event. What did you experience when you did (or did not do) it? How different was that experience from everyone else's experience? Isn't it interesting how 2 people can share an experience/memory/time and have different interpretations? If something happened, then it should be an undeniable fact, right? Each person should have the same experience, right? Then why don't we?

Time as Artifact

The other aspect of memory/time/experience that I am fascinated with is freezing a moment of time and sharing it with others. Most people use a camera to do this, but I realized a few weeks
ago that I do this with my pottery.

Take this image as an example.

I created this piece by trapping the porcelain just at the moment before it would collapse under its own weight. I effectively trapped the clay in time. I think it adds vitality to the piece that would not otherwise be there. The viewer/user can "feel" the tension of this drama even without knowing it. By perfecting an approach like this with clay I have turned my pieces from just "pots" into "snapshots of time." This possibility absolutely fascinates me.

I spent most of my undergraduate career searching for ways to incorporate pottery and photography. I experimented with silk screening photos onto clay, playing with photo decals, using photo emulsion on the clay, and I even did photo-etching on copper and tried assembling it with clay. Each one was interesting, but ultimately it did not "feel" right. It wasn't until about 3 weeks ago (12 YEARS after I got my undergraduate degree!) that I realized I had been incorporating the "idea" of photography into my work for years. What a revelation!

Sometimes it takes time to see what has been in front of your eyes for a long time. That is a more genuine approach to me than the literal approach I had been trying all those years before.

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