Chronophobia marks the return of Rebeca Bashly to creating her large-scale art installations in Second Life after an absence of over a year. Long noted and admired for offering work that is thought-provoking and which often challenge our perceptions about a subject, Rebeca continue to do so with this installation, which opened at Dividni Shostakovich’s Split Screen Installation Space in February, very much continues in this tradition.
The term chronophobia refers to the the persistent and often irrational fear of the future or of passing time. This is much in evidence within this installation, which also seems to take as its foundation the form of artistic expression referred to as mementos mori.
From the landing point, three gigantic stone sundials present platforms rising into the heavens (and I use that term intentionally, given the subject matter), our only mean to reach them being to ascend (again, choice of term deliberate) to each. All are in a state of decay, chunks of each of them falling away, with the lowest exhibiting the greatest decay and the highest the least. Each presents a unique skeletal gnomon: a human torso on the first (representing the heart), Pegasus on the second (its presence resonating with the idea of tempus fugit), and a seated couple, man and woman (with unborn child), the woman cradled gently by the man.
The symbolism here, whether in taking the three sundials as a single whole or viewing each in turn, is both powerful and layered. Transcendence, mortality, the passage of time, reminders that we have but a short span of years in which to account for ourselves, are all to be found here. so to are symbols which could be taken to represent a parallel concept to mementos mori: vanitas (the skeletal forms, the decaying sundials, complete with their bubble like trails of crumbling stone, Pegasus as a substitute for the more usual bird’s skeleton).
There is perhaps another message here as well, besides that of our mortality and the need to watch the passage of time if we’re to achieve what we desire. Chronophobia presents a view that the past is what it is. There is no point in looking back to it, because we cannot return to it or change it; we can only move forward and try to reach higher / further, even if, ultimately, time is our master and our curse.
Were I to try to summarise Chronophobia, I’d perhaps use the word “metaphor”, as this truly flows through the installation, making it a wonderfully interpretive piece. It will remain open until the end of April 2016, and a visit is recommended.
- Split Screen Installation Space: Chronophobia (Rated: Moderate)