By Donna Sternberg
The gift of time becomes evident when you step out of your familiar routine. Time approaches the fluid state, evolving from the linear progression in which we normally view it. I have been given the gift of time while at a residency at Djerassi, the time to "just be". What does it mean to just be, to let whatever bubbles up be the impetus for any actions that proceed from it, to be as comfortable sitting gazing out at a landscape as in "doing" anything? To let go of expectations, plans, "shoulds" and everything else and try and connect with that kernal of inner being. That is my quest at Djerassi, to listen, to pay attention and to let go. My mind is churning at it's usual speed and I am trying to find a slice of silence. Within that silence is the key to my residency.
On a whim this morning at breakfast I picked up a book about an artist I knew nothing about - Naomie Kremer. Don't know what drew me to this book, but it held a treasure trove. In a commentary about Naomie's work, written by Eleanor Heartney I came across this: "In his 1888 treatise Time and Free Will, French philosopher Henri Bergson provides a remarkably prescient description of ... perception. He delineates two ways we experience time. One is the ordinary perception of linear time, leading in a straight road from a remembered past to an anticipated future. Bergson sees this as a flawed perception, because it treats time as another species of space. He contrasts this with "duration," a more nebulous and mysterious notion. Duration, or lived time, is the experience in which time and space, past and future are fused with the continual present. Bergson likens duration to the perception of dance, where prior and future movements are implied at every moment in the sweep of the performer's gesture. Thus, instead of making the present disappear, as happens when the linear experience of time rushes us along a prescribed path from past to future, duration creates a consciousness of our unity with the dynamic nature of the world."
I happen to be talking too another artist, Doni Silver Simons about a collaborative project. Her work is greatly concerned with time also. The confluence of all of these seemingly disparate elements related to time is at once both astonishing and completely natural. This is what I imagine can happen when we just have the time "to be".