LECTURE ABOUT TIME, 1990
LECTURE: ABOUT TIME
TIME IN GENERAL
This paper is divided into six sections:
1.Time in general.
2. My use of time in performance.
3. Reasons for using time.
4. Time and the university.
5. Timelessness in Eastern Thought as explained by Daepak Chopra and Dr. Ramamurti Mishra.
DEFINITION OF TIME:
In childhood there is not time, only the feeling of space, expansion and infinite possibility. Time is a concept that is taught. learned and defined in Webster's dictionary in a six inch column, using miniscule type. It reads, "Time is the measured or measurable period during which an action, process or condition exists or continues." Another says, "Time is a continuum which lacks spatial dimension and in which events succeed one another from past to present to the future."
Once I lost the feeling of space in childhood, I began romancing time because my life became a series of thoughts about events instead of mythological journeys, the mental food of a child. As a good Catholic girl I monitored my mental, physical and emotional responses to life so that I could avoid sinning by thought, word or deed. In the process I began to appropriate and play with time and controlled it with the same intensity that I controlled my actions. I counted, watched clocks, competed with time by giving myself temporal deadlines. I would clock off minutes and seconds and make rules. For example I would say that I would move or not move by the count of 2. In retrospect I realize that I was enjoying a control and power that allowed for a deep mental and poetic intimacy and spaciousness. Time became my playmate and my friend. It was a doll and obedient servant.
2. MY USE OF TIME IN MY ART:
In the 70's, I transformed time into matter. I molded it, sculpted it, painted with it, designed with it. It was how I always structured my art.
3. REASONS FOR USING TIME IN MY ART:
By durating as art for extended periods of time, I found that among other things, I was able to affect my physical chemistry. Basically my art was a cheap drug and time was the pill. Athletes use running, I use duration and it's been found that long term activity releases histamines and adrenaline into the bloodstream and that leads to a cessation of pain. Joseph Previle in the book, Human Physiology, theorizes that endorphins, enkephalins and dynorpphins bind to opiate receptors in the brain and body, triggering a series of physiological events that induce narcotic effects like drowsiness, hallucinations and the inhibition of stress or distress. I used art to change my mood.
4. TIME AND THE UNIVERSITY:
Before I took a full-time tenure track university teaching position at The University of Texas, Austin three and a half years ago, my work was devoted full-time to large scale projects . I made my living by teaching part-time and working part-time at blue collar jobs.
When I came to the University I had already completed Tehching Hsieh's ART/LIFE:ONE YEAR PERFORMANCE. We were tied together for a year by an eight foot rope, never touching. And I had completed six years of a chakra experience titled, 7 YEARS OF LIVING ART.
I took this job knowing that I could do two things at once. That is I could continue to perform ANOTHER SEVEN YEARS OF LIVING ART and keep the three part commitment that the University asks of it's professors:
- A commitment to private research, performance and books.
- A commitment to teaching, office hours and seeing students doing independent studies.
- A commitment to 5 administrative committees.
The world is my studio and my life is art. So logistically, teaching is my art as was suggested by Joseph Beuys whose theory of Social Sculpture expanded the concept of art. His classes at the Dusseldorf Academy were sculpturally forming artists for life on every level. He says, "Artists must be kneaded from top to bottom. We are malleable and might turn out to be an agriculturists, doctors, computer scientists, police officers, mothers but always the artist."
I will not stop dreaming. If the dream is too big for the University job, I will have to leave even though I love and am addicted to the security, the health insurance and the dental plan. And my students.
Never a team player, I might have to leave having been on my own since 1970 and never learning how or wanting to spend "time" with the other members of the team. I do life My Way.
The muse is timeless and more powerful than money and if I hear her call for me to recalibrate and follow The Path of Space and leave the University, I will do so and then design a new way to consciously prepare for my last performance: The Performance of The death of the Body and Mind.
Without Time, there is only Space.
Without Time, there is only Space.
1990. Linda Mary Montano