Julieta Aranda — Between Timid and Timbuktu


´´The only controls available to those on board were two push-buttons on the center post of the cabin – one labeled on and one labeled off. The on button simply started a flight from Mars. The off button connected to nothing. It was installed at the insistence of the Martian mental-health experts, who said that human beings were always happier with machinery they thought they could turn off.´´

–Kurt Vonnegut, ´´The Sirens of Titan´´

There are two traditionally rival views about the nature of time: the view based in materialism, that understands time to be a substance that exists independently of events located in it, and the relationist view, according to which time is constructed out of events, and exists merely as a measure of change.

Julieta Arandas work is often concerned with time and the conditions of subjectivity, and on her exhibition at Niklas Belenius ´´Between timid and Timbuktu: (a time without events)´´she explores the conflicting propositions about time to try and understand a space positioned between change an possibility, a temporal vacuum functioning as a ripe nothingness, where subject, event and truth could be produced.

In the Timaeus, Plato presents us with an account of the ´birth of time´, this being the first motion of the heavenly bodies, thus making an identification between time and change. Aristotle objects to this, arguing that time could not be the same thing as change, for first change can go at different rates, but not so time, and secondly change is confined to a part of space whereas time is universal.

A returning question for Julieta Aranda is what does it mean to talk about ´´one’s own time´´? On her current work, the frozen reflections of mirrors into mirrors, printed on mirrors, argue for an equivalence between ´´empty time´´ and ´´time without change´´. She investigates time as a non-measurable concept, where, in her own words, ´´time independent of change means that instead of infinite delay, the present becomes a space of infinite action that is not contractually bound to “what has been´´ and ´´what there is to come´´. And as a nod to the substantivalist view of time, she borrows the title of a fictional poetry book that appears in Kurt Vonnegut?s novel, Sirens of Titan, (´´Between Timid and Timbuktu´´, a title derived from the fact that all the words between timid and Timbuktu in very small dictionaries relate to time.)

According to Aristotle, attempts to stop time are futile, for we cannot stop change. But what if all change were to stop? Would that be the end of time too?