The Architecture of Time

“Time is what keeps everything from happening at once.” - Ray Cummings

 

How many people a year stay in an inn like the Red Lion? How many times does a single guest walk the hallway to his or her room? How do we as humans visually experience the passing of time? What do we see when we move through space? 

 
Cameras are able to expand our experience of what it means to see. They can see in a different way. Our eyes seem to provide us a constant focus on the instant of now. As we walk through a space, we can quite easily focus on the immediate present, what is there at the moment of passing. Moments ago may be preserved as memory, but the eye remains focused on the immediate now. With each step down a hallway, what has passed is in the past, what is ahead remains in our current vision.


For a camera, vision is simply what the film or sensor captures while the shutter is open. A fast shutter speed captures an image much like how our eyes experience a moment in time. The moment is crystallized as a distinct image. But what happens when a camera's "eye" is open for four seconds, or eight seconds? What happens when the camera's "eye" is not only open that long, but is also moving, walking down a hallway? What kind of image is produced? What does it say about the camera's experience of time? Is it as honest and truthful as our human eye when it comes to documenting the physical act of moving through a space?

I have been exploring the blurred experience of long exposures for many years. I am fascinated by their ability to capture a view of the world so distinct from our normal visual experience as humans. A long exposure is time stacked on itself. In this series of photographs, I am playing with our common experience of seeing, using the Red Lion hallways and rooms to offer a different vision of a common and shared world.

 

I would like to thank Rebecca Weinman and everyone at the Red Lion Inn for making my time there so enjoyable. Your support and willingness to help was greatly appreciated. I’d also like to thank Lucie Castaldo from IS183 for encouraging me to apply to this summer residency. 

 

 

all rights reserved to John Clarke 

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