Time Traveller's Time
Amy Gahyun Lee
Dec 04, 2017
Films, featuring time travel, have become very popular in the past couple of years. Time travelers in the film have a common trait that they go back in time and modify their behaviors.
Human perception starts from interweaving the frames of time and space. When we think about the specific moments in the past, present, and future, we naturally come up with where ‘I was’ at that time, ‘I am’ at this time, and ‘where I will be’ in the future. In other words, by going against the formulaic time stream, the time travelers also try to dominate the space, which works as a tool for storing time. This wish represents a human desire to shake the basic structure of human perception.
If so, why do they want to go back to the past?
The answer is very simple. It is because they want to change something in the future. Even at this moment, the present constantly runs towards the future, layering past into present. Unlike the past and present, the future is where we can only approach through expectations and imaginations. That’s why we are always afraid of the future that we have never experienced. For that reason, we try to foretell our futures through our previous experience and present perception in order to minimize the number of cases possible that could unexpectedly occur and overcome our fear of uncertainty. It is our instinctive effort to reduce our unfamiliarity with the future, and it ultimately enables our secure access to the future.
'Only a dull person obsesses with what had happened in the past.'
Whenever a new monthly magazine comes out, I habitually open the last page and check the horoscope of this month. Above is my fortune of November and I got a bit depressed after reading it. One of my main tasks at Eazel is to archive exhibitions and make them into immersive VR contents, but my horoscope just made me a person, who obsesses with the past. I could not turn into the next page for a while due to my personal deprivation from that sentence, but soon, I realized that, apart from my personal feeling, the sentence’s meaning conveys the very truth. This is deeply related to how we interpret the meaning of the word, ‘obsession’. We need to read the past, recall the past for moving forward, but shouldn’t obsess with it even though it is really difficult to try.
Do the time travelers in movies wish to wind the clock backward since they are in obsession with the past?
In fact, it is both true and false. Generally speaking, the characters in movies, who have fixed their actions in the past, usually pay for it in the future. They eventually realize that the past can hardly be corrected due to endless number of cases that triggered the event, and the complication of the cases, shaping the future, is beyond their controls. The lesson is we should humbly accept what has happened in the past and learn how to construct the future from the past.
To make a long story short, now I would like to speak about Eazel.
Eazel has started from our naïve wishes to allow people to experience all the art exhibitions around the world. We have met various people in the art industry including artists, curators, galleries, auctioneers, critics, and also students in art schools and got a chance to listen to their opinions on our mission. Almost all of them have shown their interests in the virtual reality technology, the new recording medium to film the exhibitions and preserve them forever. Archiving the current exhibitions, remembering and studying archives, and using archives to usher contemporary to meet the future is one of the major roles of archiving in the contemporary art. Eazel also believes that the virtual reality can become a new medium for archive in the coming future (Somehow, we are already close to that era!). Eazel hopes we become a good guide for art institutions to the next archiving technology in art.
A few days ago, I learned the origin of ‘imagination’ in Chinese character from a TV show. In Chinese, ‘imagination’ is ‘, 想像’ and it literally means ‘thinking about formation’. It was originated from an ancient day in China when the Chinese people had to guess the shape of elephants only from the ivories of elephants, imported from India. When I heard about this interesting story, I thought our way of archiving is not so different from it. While making up an elephant from the ivories that we preserve, we try to deliver the value of archiving and sharing art by standing at the point where the elephant becomes another pair of ivories for the imagination of the next generations. You can think Eazel as a ‘Time Turner’ for you. Eazel’s role in contemporary art is to help narratives of the past, current, and future communicate one another smoothly. That is the way, without physically doing a time travel, people can experience the former exhibitions lively and think about artists’ adventures in the future.