“How do we live based on how we understand time?”
—Alyson Shotz, artist
Fieldnotes on Time
From physicist, Carlo Rovelli, we understand that time—in the way that we speak of it—does not exist in the physical sense. Time does exist, however, in the sense that it has become a central way that we comprehend and relate to the events that comprise our existence. Time may not exist physically, but events do; and the language of time may be a very substantive way in which to describe the nature of these events and ourselves in relation to them.
A key invitation in the Arts Initiative’s Time Study is to seek ways to express how a consideration of time’s unreality can help us understand more deeply the reality of our relationship to individuals and communities in the past, present, and future.
Over the course of two workshops on site at Grace Farms—in the spring and fall of 2019—an interdisciplinary cohort of artists working alongside sculptor Alyson Shotz confirmed that considering time deeply may be among the most serious ways in which to approach an address of the many crises that define our contemporary moment. The grammar of time allows a way of perceiving that assumes an appropriately layered composition of past events and future becomings, a perspective often lacking in daily life and in public discourses.
With this programming, the Arts Initiative challenges its audiences to consider the implications of a new understanding of time not only—as Rovelli seems to frame—as consequential for understanding ourselves in the singular; but for understanding ourselves as singularities within communities, and also for our sense of interrelatedness to all communities. This would seem to be the inevitable outcome of thinking of existence at the quantum level: that it pushes us to perceive the often invisible but ultimately real site of the social.
—Kenyon Victor Adams, Arts Initiative Advisor
—Pamela Ruggio, Arts Initiative Curator
Fieldnotes on Time from Poet Tracy K. Smith
The 22nd United States Poet Laureate, Pulitzer Prize Recipient, and Harvard Professor Tracy K. Smith read poems and shared insights in response to the Arts Initiative’s interdisciplinary study of time. These recordings are from an interview and a public program that took place on October 23, 2021.
“Time is something that we want to please because we want to have made better choices.”
—Tracy K. Smith, poet
Artist Alyson Shotz…
Artists Nasheet Waits and Kaoru Watanabe contributed to the Arts Initiative’s interdisciplinary study of time at Grace Farms. These recordings are musical improvisations from workshops that took place during the fall of 2019.
Simultaneity, interrelatedness, and the shape of time are some of the many themes from the Arts Initiative’s interdisciplinary study of time. These articles from Founding Arts Initiative Director Kenyon Adams and Arts Initiative Curator Pamela Ruggio include insights and interactions that inspired and informed onsite and online programming.