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  • Writer's pictureShriya Malhotra

Time is an illusion of measurement.

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

Time is an illusion, but existence is somehow temporal. Sound over time gives us music—I am hoping rather ambitiously that is what I can convert my crappy  paper into, but it's unlikely! 


Some evaluations of meta-data that have included an aspect of time, but I have not yet worked out what the final product will be: Time to read: about 33.3 minutes. Word count: 15694 words or 109719 characters. Word repetitions: urban (311)  crisis (4) public health (257); the tempo over the paper and sound : (trying to get midi files from p22 has not worked so far). 


In considering the correlations between biological and mechanical tempos as related to being human, AI, subjectivity, and the constitution of temporal orders— time affects the first and the second to a much lesser degree. We think of something as human when reconciling that there are sentient aspects to things that we consider alive, whatever that means. 


In some sense, I think the translations of my own clunky text after breaking it down to base elements and re-patterning it helps it because this is a way of understanding something static in time, and of making it alive and interactive in a posthuman paradigm. It may be a roadmap for critique and updates.


Decay overtime is a natural process, and in mechanical notions of worm holes or time travel, the decay is reduced or sped up depending on the form of travel. This seems important to consider, particularly because the life and work of women is governed by many mostly male clock creations.


Time, although described as a dimension and a fundamental property of the universe we live in -- is culturally and socially constructed as well as mediated by visual representation and therefore is an aesthetic experience, mediated through art as well as design.


The scientific and rationally-dominated view of time as both linear and potentially finite seems to stand in contrast with many Eastern  concepts of time (eg: lunar calendar) as well as other traditional knowledge paradigms (eg: the Mayan wheel of time). 


This bias and the [framing] of peoples lived experience by these philosophies, may benefit from the following: 1) that there are many valid and alternative constructions of time (knowledges) by civilizations throughout known existence. 2)  that the experience of time is individually as well as culturally subjective (eg: Indian standard time) when considered outside of the confines of capitalist constraint. 3) expressing and coding these into dynamics, updating errors and glitches can be a form of creating and building upon knowledge. 4) rationality may have reached its extension and requires rebalancing with the opposite -- whatever that is. The negative space of rationality.


Time as a notion appears to correlate with creating intervals that can contain / control / confine in order to explain rhythms of existence (beyond work-related), and to potentially embody in many pluralistic ways errors and miscommunication across the ages.  Time seems to be the area thats often "corrected" for things to organise themselves and to function. We are late only because there is a possibility to be exactly on time for instance.


In also considering the philosophy of art, and the concerns of aesthetics, time is both subject and representative of the visual world around us and seems to represent an ongoing struggle of people explaining a force of flows that determines change in the world around us.  


By examining how time is depicted and experienced visually gives cultural insight as well as a paradigm for inclusions of more than one social construction (or hegemonic narrative). Time then becomes less rigid and more porous; its rates vary by location, culture and experience; and as a perception rather than a finite fact, it oscillates between being a science or a constructed philosophy. 


Convergence and Recurrence


There is a familiar experience of déja vu, which is when people go through something - a feeling - and it is as though they have been there before. This is interesting because in recent findings, deja vu is described as a miscommunication in the brain, a symptom of a neurological issue. This is indicative of time being contained –  firstly because for the experience of déja vu, we know it feels almost like a wormhole:  another time and place. 


All of this occurs inside the brain; and so the entire idea of reality can also be contained within the synapses. This is interesting not just for thinking about what time is and how people experience it, but also for artificial intelligence and the arts: what we make and the response loops generated, and the requirement of existing beings (artificial or natural) to express.


What if a moment in time -- is a specific recurring coordinate? What if time is simply the experience of a brain spark. 


Time, Memory and a Reverb


Although time implies change, it also implies a construction or framework for understanding. People understand memory as being elsewhere or a somewhere of the past. We calculate space using the time taken by sound waves to reverbs like bats do. It seems to be the case that thinking about the passage of time as a recurring and multilayered loop rather than a linear process of just evolution indicates that time, in addition to being a dimension, is also a force. 


Durations, Transitions and BPM


I have always been enamoured by Russian artist Wassily Kandinsky, known for creating abstract works where he translated the experience of music into colours and lines, onto a canvas. I think there is something bigger to this experience - a dramatic lure of visual representation of invisible things, a communication challenge that crosses dimensions. Whether this becomes the concept of time, the philosophy of existence, the exploration of the self occupying a body, or even the brain in the world. (Potentially, just a movie I have not seen yet).

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