Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Time traveler wisdom (VI) — The art historian and the child

What is time? So far, we heard mathematicians, writers, scientists, and a composer with an especially remarkable and elaborate idea on time.

Today I would love to draw your attention to a young man called Daniel Klemm, aged 33, and put his thoughts back to back with an even younger fellow, Nik, 8 years. Let’s listen to Nik first.

Q: “What is time”?
A: “Zeit ist das was gerade war. Zeit ist da und schon wieder weg. Zeit geht ganz schnell, aber Zeit haben ist geht-so, ist langweilig.
(Time is what just passed. Time is here, and gone again. Time moves very quickly, but to have time [on your hands] is so-so; it’s boring.)”

Nik goes to school, of course, loves animals and loves to dance. My heartfelt thanks to Nik for his thoughts, may his English by now be elaborate enough to read this.

Offering the trained art historian’s perspective, Daniel’s take is the following.

Q: “What is time”?
A: “Time is relative, not only referring to different modes of perception, but also to the surrounding space, without which there would be no time and vice versa.
Time can only exist and be recognized as movement in an interplay with space so basically the understanding of change creates the factor time.
‘Time’s what you make it’—action defines a temporary frame that can make it an absolute, quantitative value. That’s why we seem to be able to actually loose time.
But time is a qualitative phenomenon as our sense of it changes due to the circumstances. It is never the same, so we can never bear it as uniform.
Some people say art be timeless. But this is not true as well, since also art exists in relativity to its surrounding environment as well as the artist who creates it.
Time hence is the possibility to get aware about our existence in relation to others and forget about the idea of the absolute. Time gives us the opportunity to achieve a unique quality, our individuality.”

Daniel currently is working as an assistant for renowned artist Carsten Nicolai, and has contributed a worthwhile short essay to the monography “Carsten Nicolai. fades. (2007)”.

Dieser Beitrag ist auf Englisch, doch einiges an der Zeitmauer gibt es auch in der hervorragenden Kultur- und Verwaltungssprache Deutsch zu lesen.

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