This time is still
Without time, sound ceases and everything becomes silent.
Does time exist beyond the course of events? How do we know that time has passed? And if it has passed, which way did it take? How can my time be so short when, simultaneously, someone else feels that it is infinitely long? Is time associated with space, distance or person?
Some years ago I began to film surfaces of water in different light and in different places. Among other things, this induced me to go to India to film the water of Ganges which is so loaded with symbols. Later on I slowed down the films, so that only a slight change could be perceived. The slowness that arose made me interested and made me begin to film subjects that themselves move very slowly. In some sequences, the change is so slow that we do not perceive it with our eyes, yet, after some time, the picture will have changed completely. What we believe is a still with its frozen and stopped time is actually something that is carried by time to the same extent as the hectically and rapidly advancing pictures we are used to watch.
This time is still includes a big machine which performs a small but important piece of work. It consists of a powerful engine that does 1440 revolutions per minute. Through a number of gears of various kinds, the machine makes two round tinplate sheets do one revolution in ten minutes. By means of a rope, the machine pulls a small wooden staff through the room up to a Tibetan singing bowl, a vessel that has been used by Tibetan monks in connection with meditation and prayer for thousands of years. Up there at the bowl, the staff swings out a little and creates a frail but natural sound that lingers in the room.