Contemplating the art (and meaning) of time

The Timewalkers, LEA15
The Timewalkers, LEA15

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.
What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.

These words from the opening of Burnt Norton, the first of T.S Eliot’s Four Quartets, were the first to enter my head while visiting LEA15 and Solkide Auer’s The Timewalkers, an installation which encourages you to contemplate time and its meaning, as you ride a pod up through the giant clock, and upwards into the wealth of colour, pattern and light, set against the backdrop of night.

The Timewalkers, LEA15
The Timewalkers, LEA15

Riding the pod up through the installation, I personally found a strong resonance between the piece and Eliot’s contemplation of time. Time is the one immutable force we cannot deny. It rules every aspect of our lives, past, present and future. It surrounds each of us as we live our lives of colour and light.

When contemplating time in reference to our own lives, we so often we look back; wondering what might have been, had a different path been taken. So even as we look back, we also catch a glimpse of a future that might have been. Thus our thoughts themselves  span the past, present and future, even as well continue to travel forward.

The Timewalkers, LEA15
The Timewalkers, LEA15

And yet, here lies a conundrum: to be conscious of time  is to be apart from our understanding of time, for consciousness implies a fixed perspective while time is characterised by a transient relativity focused on a fixed point in the present. Yet at the same time, the contemplation of time is also the contemplation of the eternal, as Eliot himself noted when he wrote:

Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.

The Timewalkers, LEA15
The Timewalkers, LEA15

Wherever your thoughts take you, Solikide offers a stunning display, rich in colour while deeply evocative of the passage of time itself, be it through obvious elements such as the clock, the pendulum and the metronome, or in more subtle fashion through the slowly rotating circles which suggest the never-ending cycle of time, or the slow rocking of the bell-like objects hanging below them, or the colour terrible clefts which seem to fall like dying leaves, their time of growth now done, and which also carried more of Eliot’s evocative poem to my mind.

The Timewalkers, LEA15
The Timewalkers, LEA15

And what then of life and death? Time is all-encompassing, and a journey through it can hardly be devoid of thoughts on where we all are destined to travel. The symbolism here also seems apparent as one ascends up through the piece, rising towards the light, passing the “bells” tolling silently (and perhaps causing an echo of another writer’s words – those of John Donne), to arrive at a place of intricate beauty.

Wherever your own thoughts take you, do make sure you spend time – no pun intended – as a Timewalker. It’s a visually stunning installation, and one that stirs the grey matter. Recommended.

The Timewalkers, LEA15
The Timewalkers, LEA15

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Of signs, portents, superhero squirrels and three-headed dogs

It’s time to kick-off another week of fabulous story-telling in Voice, brought to Second Life by the staff and volunteers at the Seanchai Library SL.

As always, all times SLT, and unless otherwise stated, events will be held on the Seanchai Library’s home on Imagination Island.

Sunday May 4th,13:30: Tea-time at Baker Street: The Sign of the Four

Sign-of-fourTea-time at Baker Street sees Caledonia Skytower, Corwyn Allen and Kayden Oconnell open the pages of the second full-length novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle featuring Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, which was originally published under the title The Sign of the Four; or The Problem of the Sholtos, and later abbreviated to the name by which we know it today: The Sign of the Four. (also sometimes abbreviated to The Sign of Four).

In 1888, Mary Morstan comes to Sherlock Holmes seeking his assistance in two matters. The first is with regards to her father. Having returned safely from India in 1878, Captain Arthur Morstan had arranged to meet his daughter at the Langham Hotel, London – but he had vanished from the hotel prior to her arrival, and no trace of his whereabouts has ever been discovered.

The second relates to a series of pearls she has received, at the rate of one a year, every year, from 1882 onwards. The pearls started arriving after she had responded to a strange newspaper advert inquiring for her, and the last one had come with a letter, indicating she had somehow been wronged, the sender asking to meet with her.

Holmes discovers that the pearls started arriving shortly after the death of a Major Sholto, who served with Arthur Morstan in India, and he is convinced there is a connection between the two men which involves an Indian fortress, names of three Sikhs and a man by the name of Jonathan Small.

If that weren’t enough, it then appears everything may be bound up by a certain treasure which may have led to murder and betrayal.

 

Find out more by joining Cale, Kayden and Corwyn.

Monday May 5th, 19:00: Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Gyro Muggins reads this 1943 sci-fi short by Lewis Padgett (otherwise known as the husband-and-wife team of Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore.

In the far-flung future, a post-human scientist uses a time machine to send two boxes of educational toys into the past in the hope of helping to save his race. The first arrives in 1942, where it is found by a young brother and sister, Scott and Emma Paradine. The second travels back to nineteenth century England, where it is found by Alice Liddell. And so through the writings of one Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, the world is introduced to the Jabberwocky, and the Paradine children find the means to perhaps save that distant future civilisation …

Tuesday May 6th, 19:00: Good Poems

With Kayden OConnell.

Wednesday May 7th, 19:00: Flora and Ulysses

Kate DiCamillo’s second novel to win a prestigious Newbery Award (the first being The Tales of Despereaux in 2004), is at its heart, a comic superhero tale.

The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him.

“What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.”

Join Caladonia as she continues to chart this lighthearted tale of eccentric, endearing characters, engaging illustrated by K. G Campbell.

Thursday May 8th

19:00: Cerebus

“Cerberus is a three-headed dog born to monstrous parents, who experiences many adventures, culminating in a tragic journey into the Underworld. It is here that Hades, ruler of that kingdom, determines to keep Cerberus as his sentinel at the Gates of Hell. The three-headed dog ventures into this perilous trap in his quest for the little girl he loves, who has been ruthlessly stolen from him by death. It is in Tartarus that Cerberus finally finds her and where he meets his greatest challenge.  “Here is the stirring tale of friendship, cunning, and treachery within the turbulent world of myth occupied by heroes, gods, and monsters.”

With Shandon Loring.

21:00: Seanchai Late Night

With Finn Zeddmore.

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Please check with the Seanchai Library SL’s blog for updates and for additions or changes to the week’s schedule. The featured charity for May-June is Habitat for Humanity: envisioning a world where everyone has a decent place to live.

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How I’m able to blog so frequently …

Strawberry Singh has run a couple of her Monday Memes on the subject of blogging. The first featured questions on why people blog – which I answered here, and the second was about the journey we’ve undertaken as bloggers, to which I also responded.

Since publishing the second article, several people have asked me how it is I can be blogging “constantly” (no, really, they have!). Rather than bore you with talk of planning ahead, having a production line of articles in progress, etc., I thought I’d just come clean.

You see, I’m able to blog so much because I have an army small number of minions helpers eager to write stuff up for me …

Inara's little helper (with apologies to Universal Studios)
Inara’s little helpers (with apologies to Universal Studios!)

Of course, I have to keep all bananas carefully hidden, so as to avoid total mayhem, but that’s a small price to pay.

So there you have it. The truth is out.