It interests me how science is preoccupied with issues that are fundamental to our existence, yet too far removed from our daily lives to be part of our everyday consciousness.
We don’t see the world as it is. We can’t see electrons, x-rays, infrared, ultraviolet, we can’t perceive certain sounds but it does not mean they are not there. Reality goes beyond what we can simply measure and what we can see and these invisible and inaudible elements are the bits that keep us alive.
Over the last two years, I became acquainted with the concept of spacetime, the fourth dimension that sweeps away the Euclidean reality which defines our world. I read how it replaces it with a fluid framework where coordinates become relative to the observer and where the unidirectional path of time from past to future no longer applies:
There are no temporal distinctions between past, present and future in the fourth dimension, just a ‘now’ that is relative to what we are doing, our location, our pace and trajectory in space.
Through a variety of mediums, ranging from small-scale, wall-based pieces to larger-scale sculptural installations, as well as time-lapse and stop motion animations, I have tried to unpick these notions and expose the realities that such an alternative understanding of our world would promote.
Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me. That signifies nothing. For those of us who believe in physics, the distinction between past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. (Letter of 21 March 1955. Einstein Archives 7-245)
At any given time (read from the clock on the wall and logged onto the grid), the roll of the dice determines the direction of the band, as well as its length. The elastic band best echoes the idea of time fluidity/elasticity.
The diagram below (Navigation Board) translates each draw into the relevant coordinates.
April 30th – Diagram of possible direction for W3=0+Ch4Nc3
This diagram defines 96 directions, adding another 88 directions to the original 8 defined earlier and found on the first square (smallest from the centre).
Each direction is defined by a pair of coordinates. The first digit locates the square (or level) where the direction is set. The second digit locates the coordinate on the designated square that gives the orientation of the direction from the departure point at the centre.
For example (1:2): ‘1’ means the direction is defined by a coordinate located on the first square and ‘2’ means the direction on that square follows a diagonal from the centre of the diagram to the top right corner of the square.
On the second square, all the coordinates starting with ‘1’ are directions defined on the previous square. There are 8 new direction on the second square, all starting with the digit 2.
On the third square, all the coordinates starting with ‘1’and ‘2’ are directions defined on the previous squares. There are 8 new direction on the third square, all starting with the digit 3.
These additional 88 new directions should give more scope to the randomness of the spatial drawing, which might otherwise appear contrived. It is a welcome factor as randomness is intrinsic to the work.
The same set of dice will be used in order to progress the work – I am in the process of buying a 16 and 32-sided dice.
The 6-sided die gives the first coordinate which designates the corresponding square. ‘1’= first square form the centre.
Once on the designated square:
On the first or the second square, there are 8 possible new directions. I will therefore use the 8-sided die. The digit from 1 to 8 will give me the coordinate on the designated square, which in turn will define the sense and orientation of the direction of my drawing.
On the third, fourth and sixth square, there are 16 possible new directions. I will therefore use the 16-sided die. The digit from 1 to 16 will give me the coordinate on the designated square, which in turn will define the sense and orientation of the direction of my drawing.
On the fifth square, there are 32 possible new directions. I will therefore use the 32-sided die. The digit from 1 to 32 will give me the coordinate on the designated square, which in turn will define the sense and orientation of the direction of my drawing.
And so on…
The grid, to be or not to be?
The grid allowed for the nails to be fitted in straight parallel and perpendicular lines. Now all the nails are in, is the grid redundant? Moreover, will it overpower the spatial drawing of elastic stands?
I removed the lines of the grid on a sample board (bottom right hand corner of above picture) and produced the drawing with nails only. I used haberdashery elastic tapes (instead of wire) in various width, ranging from 1mm to 6mm.
The elastic materials generate a better tension and thus a more dynamic effect than the wire (see previous trial). The wider the tape, the stronger the result. With a width mirroring that of the grid, the work was not overpowered by the grid any longer and came back to the foreground.
Remarkably, the physical properties of elastic materials, their flexibility, stretching or pulling characteristics, also recall the fluidity of spacetime, where space and time contract and expand in relation to each other. They also mirror the state of our universe which balances between expansion and gravitational attraction.
I decided to keep the grid and used the wider haberdashery elastic tape for my drawing. I also had to consider a different set of rules for the direction of the cord on the grid: The eight directions prescribed earlier limited my work to the horizontal and vertical lines of the grid or to a 45 degree angle.