An introduction.

To Begin,

“The mind seemed to grow giddy by looking so far into the abyss of time” – geologist James Hutton.

‘While the Hour’ is the catalyst project for an ongoing multidisciplinary art collective of the same namesake. The collective will delve into the tangled world of ‘chronosophy’, the philosophical study of time, through projects that intermingle experimental art practices with science and philosophy in the study of what ‘deep time’ could be.

Deep time, a philosophical concept first coined by geologist James Hutton to describe geological time has been used recently in anthropology and other disciplines as a device to conceive of a time that is vast, expansive and beyond our everyday reach.

‘While the Hour’s’ first iteration will take the form of an artist residency. Using the theme of deep time as a point of departure, we will make work which inquires into the nature of time through events, workshops, installations, gift economies and ongoing-duration experiments.

During the residency, we will be bringing together individuals from such varied fields as art, psychology, activism and futurism. The slippery concept of time will be explored from diverse angles with a focus on how it relates to human’s impact on the planet. The residency will prompt both the collective and our audience to consider how viewing time differently can affect the way we live our lives.

Why now?

Time is an invisible force that rules our lives. Ever present like the air we breathe, time is relational, it can shift and warp depending on our mood, or waking state. In contemporary society, one may be forgiven for thinking that time is running out. As our environment faces enormous challenges and human society bickers as the ocean rises. In addition, we as modern humans so often feel ‘time poor’, as the race to be productive, fulfilled members of society results in us not taking the time to slow down and experience the malleability of an afternoon stretched out, or a moment fully experienced.

Studies in the area deep time show us that human society is but a mere blip on the timeline of the universe. If we think about the world existing for many years after we are gone we are better able to think emphatically about the future and to care about the earth’s  continuing wellbeing. In a contemporary context the Andrews government will release a draft coal policy in early 2017, and is currently amending the Victorian Climate Change Act. Thinking in a big-picture way will enable people to consider the significance of this policy in a deeper time-scale.  

‘While the Hour’ invites its audience to explore the plural possibilities, to find new ways of thinking and being during the National Sustainable Living Festival. It will be an experiential offering to the public: an invitation to explore our place in the universe and to consider human’s connection to the planet and its possible futures.

The residency at Testing Grounds:

For those of you who do not know ‘Testing Grounds’, it is a free outdoor space for creatives to test, develop and share their work. Their aim is to be a site of chance encounters, often with multiple events happening simultaneously on-site. An interdisciplinary melting-pot encompassing art, performance and design, available for creative, cultural and education-related activities through an ongoing Expression of Interest (EOI) program. Testing Ground’s central location in the Melbourne CBD provides the perfect space for us to experiment and take calculated risks.

The project will be both inward and outward facing. For half of the week (Sunday to Tuesday) the artists will inhabit the Testing Grounds space without it being open to the public, offering a rare opportunity to quietly delve into their experiments. The other half of the week (Wednesday to Saturday) will be open to the public. Visitors will be invited to participate in art workshops and playful tests.