The Waiting Room
Process Residency ArtBox: Ella Bertilsson & Ulla Juske
During the Process Residency with ArtBox, the artists Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske explored the abstract concept of time; how to understand it, how to define it and how to experience time passing. Working exclusively with interview-based material from conversations with astrophysicists and astronomers in Iceland and Sweden, it became evident that time can also be understood as a social construction. The artists wanted the installation itself to communicate the idea of a time warp; a timeless, transitional, in-between limbo space. A space where the only purpose for the visit is to wait.
“Time itself is a very abstract thing, something difficult to put a handle on. You can think about it in an analytical way, this is a system we have decided. It’s bright one moment, it’s dark later and so this is going to be a day. Time itself is an abstract concept, I don’t really want to call it the currents of events because I don’t think that’s quite right. I feel like time is bringing winds of change, some kind of change, processes are going on, things are happening from one stage to another. It’s really hard to get a good grasp of it, I don’t think anyone really knows what it is.
Not sounding morbid but I think death is the marker for time. People from the past who lived shorter lives would have perceived time differently then we do. If you took someone from 200 years ago and brought them here, they would be like “why are you wasting so much time?” (Quote from an interview with James Silvester, astrophysicist at Uppsala University).
The personal perception of time cannot be measured with clocks. The physical body belongs to the present moment but the mind can experience time in a non-linear way by connecting past, present and the imagined future together. The present moment which is heavily embedded with memories, dreams and hopes is evident in the lyrics of Leonard Cohen’s song “Waiting for the Miracle”. The song is also the opening soundtrack of Oliver Stones film Natural Born Killers (1994) and can be heard playing from a radio. The film, which was banned in Ireland until 2013, tells the story of Mickey and Mallory, two victims of traumatic childhoods who become lovers and mass murderers, and are irresponsibly glorified by the mass media.
Baby, I’ve been waiting
I’ve been waiting night and day
I didn’t see the time
I waited half my life away
The installation was accompanied by an imaginative text by CSO Keeffe: TWO TEDDIES
Ali Kirby – PROCESS, January, 2017
Open Studio Feb 2nd-10th, Residency documentation by Kate Bowe O’Brien