Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Katie Paterson SYZYGY - The Lowry, Manchester

Time is a factor.

That is time as a measurement, time as a way of arranging, time as a way of shaping meaning.

This that is also interwoven with space, the time it takes to walk from there to here. To travel from town to city. The time it takes to arrive from the impossible destinations of the Universe.

The time who’s functional ubiquity provides a unique paradox, that keeping it is simultaneously mundane and yet offers up a infinity of beautiful opportunities.

The essence of earth’s  revolving around the Sun and of the moon’s encircling of us under the dictates of gravity. Despite this having been going on for eons upon eons, it still generates an amount of imagination. Whether that be poetic of a desperate need to measure, to calculate, to observe.

Is this need inherent within the human race? As products of nature we have existed in the rhythms of a turning world. Responded to the growth of the world. Was it a increase in satisfaction of the methods we used in response to natural patterns that prompted us to name and differentiate in indiferentiate?

To place import into ephemeral things, to give meaning to spontaneous events that occur around us. Then is this just in order to create a level of comfort or to convince ourselves we understand the world.

All these thoughts come from my experience of Katie Paterson’s Lowry show SYZYGY and in particular her Totality piece. This is a mirrored ball which has images of past eclipses. Watching these points of light run from my hand and then fly down the wall I think about spending more time here. Spending my time in this exhibition. Then it occurs to me the similarity of looking at the stars and looking at art.

You don’t have to spend hours gazing upon the night sky in order to gain to understanding of it. Your appreciation of it can flash across your mind, allowing you the sensation of understanding, setting of a cascade of associations.

A sensation of being at once separate and a part of a great whole. A sensation of the sublime, not the sublime that will overwhelm and consume you, rather a sublime that forms part of you. That your presence is adding to it.

The is evident through out Paterson’s work. Be it a recording of the space between stars, a direct line to a melting glacier. Or the letters written to mark the death of stars which have a beauty of their own and also disprove cLOUDDEAD there is a search party for stars gone dim.

I find something affirming in Paterson’s work, even if it’s a solipsistic idea, that this is your time to exist and your time to witness the Universe.

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