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Week 4

Workshop with Tim 

The topic for this workshop was time travel. Which is a very interesting topic. Time travel is used in a lot of films, tv-series and books. It is something that the human race dreams to achieve and develop- a time machine that lets you bend time and space.

So if you think about time travel theory and how possible it is we can technically go into the future. We are all travelling at the same speed of 1 second per second but if we could make a body move faster then that’s when we would experience the real-time travel that we see in movies and books. Albert Einstein came up with an idea about how time works. He called it relativity. This theory says that time and space are linked together. Einstein also said our universe has a speed limit: nothing can travel faster than the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). According to this theory, the faster you travel, the slower you experience time. So in theory it is possible to travel into the future if you can move fast enough. 

As for now, it’s not possible to have an actual time machine and move through time but at some understanding, we’re all travelling through time. If you think about the whole concept of the past present and future, it’s all connected. What is it now? I’m writing this post right now but as soon as I wrote this sentence it’s already in the past. Time is so hard to understand. If you think about how the whole universe was made and the evolution of the human race and how much happened on planet earth -that’s when the past is getting scary. There are so many things that we cannot see with our own eyes and we cannot fully understand them but there are objects from the past that can “take us back in time” and help us to understand. 

During this workshop, Tim presented two objects. Mud that is 500,000 years old and seeds. We were also asked to bring personal objects. I brought the watch that is quite sentimental for me because it’s the first watch I got from my grandparents when I was 15 and since my grandfather is a watchmaker it always makes me think about him. With these objects, we were supposed to create something related to time travel. So I kind of started to think about nature and earth and how it’s always surrounding the human race and how it was always there from the begging of time. So with this idea, I got some tubes and some branches from outside. With a potential project, I could create some parts of nature (like trees) that are preserved in an artificial object (such as a jar or some kind of glass box). Which I can see as preserving time, and timelessness. Trees are connected with nature, the earth and its history, they are all around us always observing. So the act of putting them in artificial objects allows me to preserve their timelessness. And it also gives a point of view on the global warming crisis and how we don’t respect nature anymore. 

Still life and my project 

Part of my project is still-life composition. Which is something well-known in the artwork. I never got too deep into this topic because still life for a long time was just something painful for me. It just brought memories of drawing class back when I was in high school when I had to draw some still-life compositions. Back then it was very meaningless, we just had some objects that we were supposed to draw without thinking it through. So my relationship with still life wasn’t the best for a long time. But now reading about it and understanding the meaning, I think it’s so beautiful. Technically it’s something very simple yet within that, there is so much symbolism and meaning in everyday objects that are all around us. 

Paintings showing still life began to appear in antiquity, but the term itself was created later, in the 17th century. The term “still life” originates from the Netherlands, where around 1650 art catalogues began to list works that they define as “stilleven”, which can be translated as “still life” or “quiet life”, i.e. as “immobile model”. That’s when artists around Europe started to explore the objects around them in a way that hasn’t been done since antiquity. 

The objects in still-life compositions are chosen carefully. The items are after all the essence of the work and they are determining the subject matter of a piece. The objects in a still life painting carry the weight of meaning: either religious, allegorical, social, cultural, personal, moral, or spiritual. The objects chosen for composition have often symbolism attached to them and they are placated there for a reason. They also may be a form of personal interest and reference related to the artist. 

Rachel Ruysch – Roses, Convolvulus, Poppies, and Other Flowers in an Urn on a Stone Ledge (1680s)
Juan Sánchez Cotán – Still Life with Game Fowl, Vegetables and Fruits (1602)
Maria van Oosterwijk – Vanitas-Still Life (1693)
Antonio Ponce – Still-Life with Flowers, Artichokes and Fruit (1650)
Juan de Valdés Leal – In Ictu Oculi (1672)

In my still-life composition, I want to use flowers and fruit. 

The symbolism: 

The fruit is an often element of still life composition. The fruit acts as a representation of the transient nature of our existence. When the fruit in the portrayals appears to be fresh and ripe, this stands as a symbol of abundance, bounty, fertility, youth and vitality. However, fruit that is in a state of decay serves as a reminder of our undeniable mortality, the inevitability of change and, as a reflection of sin and human corruption.

In general, flowers can symbolize innocence as well as impermanence – a reminder of the shortness of our existence and the fleeting nature of life’s earthly pleasures. Flowers symbolize nature and the four seasons. Individual flowers had their meaning, such as the rose for love, the lily for purity, and the sunflower for devotion. 

There is a big difference between fresh flowers and fruit and decaying ones. It has different symbolism so through my project I want to show the whole process. From something, colourful, fresh and beautiful to something dry and mouldy. I want it to represent the never-ending time. That cannot be paused, and cannot move backwards. It just keeps on going forward. Every second getting older, losing your youthfulness and beauty. Something that at the end of the day is so superficial. But what is important is what you will do with your time on earth. What will you do with your existence? The unstoppable changes and progression of time. There is begging and an end. We are all mortal. And in the end, we will all fade away. 

Looking at my composition I’m wondering what each object means to me. They aren’t mine and I think it is visible. They are random, abandoned and found. From different times yet all together. They aren’t modern, they all are probably older than me. Found in charity shops and put together. Each one of them has its history and its timeline. Where have you been? Who owned you? How did I choose you? How did I place them together? They are mine now because I bought them but at the same time they don’t feel that way. I bought them but they don’t belong to me. All are so random yet they work together. I like how they look together. 

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