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Thursday 9 September 2010

when travel stops...

I am stuck in France.

Stranded without a means of travel for three days, due to the National Strike in France.

I am staying in a small village in a rural part of Les Landes. I had to return my rented car on Monday. There is no bus service here, no train. (I do have access to a bicycle!)

When you get stuck, you start to realise how much travel in general is a part of our lives now. I am very much caught in limbo now - it's not really a holiday anymore because I'm not supposed to be here, and I am acutely aware of how much work I should be doing right now but can't! At the same time it's not a normal rest day or work day either, because I have so little contact with anybody anywhere, I can't go anywhere and there is very little I can progress workwise, not having any equipment or literature with me. So what to do?

So back to the blog... at least here I can record some of my rambling thoughts! "Stuckness" brings me back to some of the conversations Carole and I had in the Fingerprints project - thinking about areas of deprivation where people feel stuck in various ways. A part of our project became about how the mind was where you could always find freedom of a sort - you can travel in your imagination and become anything you want, be anywhere you want... We found the church in the Beanfield Estate to be a place where "mind travel" could happen, the church space, with its vastness, colour and light, gave you the feeling that you could launch yourself up into the vaulted space and take off to somewhere in your mind... time became flexible and inconsequential in that space... time also feels very strange and stretched for me right here now!

Travel and time are two linked entities... a very little research into "time" as a fourth dimension immediately rises the notion of time as something that bends according to travel and speed. The faster you travel, the slower time becomes.

I remember the relativity experiment with two aeroplanes - both planes started from the same place on earth with clocks synchronised to the same time. They then both flew in opposite directions along the equator around the earth at the same speed. The clocks on the planes were then compared with each other and with the clock on the earth at their starting point. One clock showed time had moved on significantly slower than the clock on earth, the other clock faster. (Look up the Hafele–Keating experiment 1971)

Things like that make a great impression on me - we are so used to the idea that time is a reliable measurement that does not falter, then scientists manage to do an experiment that proves otherwise... it blows out the window everything we think we are sure of. I think we all at some point have had the sensation that time is bending, faster or slower... perhaps it actually is!

In 2006, when I was working as part of CoLab, we did a project called the "Time Exchange" where we set up a market stall in Nottingham for the buying and selling of time. It posed the question: if you could buy more time, how much would you have and what would you do with it?

CoLab website

1 comment:

  1. If I could buy time I would want to know about its qualities first. Is it slow and sleepy time? Fast and energetic? Will it be continually broken by phone calls and double glazing salesmen? Or beautiful, smooth untouched time? Can I change it if it feels wrong? Is it under warranty? If it runs away will someone help me look for it?


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