It has been 122 years since Ambrose Bierce wrote “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.” The modern reader might find little to engage with as the story begins, detailing the preparations of faceless Union soldiers to hang a Confederate criminal. We don’t know his crime or his name. He does not struggle. No one speaks. It all seems very very far away. But upon turning the page of the first instalment of Scout Books’ War Stories series, we find an illustration that shrewd reduces the distance between us and the condemned man peering off the page at the river awaiting his dead body. He is a farmer, Bierce says, dressed in a “well-fitting frock coat,” but the wrinkled coat depicted here echoes the heavy bags under the eyes of the Union soldiers, who are faceless no more. The man’s rib cage presses against his tight vest: he is hopelessly trapped. What is going through his mind only Bierce can reveal, but the condemned man is alive, if only for a moment longer, before our eyes. His final seconds will stretch on across pages as we discover what desperate things we will do for our freedom, whether in the nineteenth century or in the twenty-first.
I love how time exists relative to one’s self .I liked how the few moments before the man’s life was stretched into a never-ending moment mixed with is panic and the inmate reflex of the human spirit to survive .I think time cannot be without emotions it is as if the relativity of time to oneself is an equation that cannot be without emotion .If the man didn’t have that sense of hope in the light of his imminent death,if he didn’t have that the acid wash of panic that must have swept waves in stomach and that flood of adrenaline took over his imagination his senses and drove him to believe in the possibility of escape ,time wouldn’t have existed like it did for him in those last few moments.
The last two weeks were dominated by the visual: first watching Cléo de 5 à 7, followed by a discussion on time relates to individual or personal time. The film had the class think about real and cinematic time, the ideas of age and beauty, the relevance of insecurity and the sense of impending doom.
Today’s class turned to the insights of John Berger, and the first episode of Ways of Seeing, stopping to talk about the role of time with respect to art and what happens to images in the age of mechanical reproduction. We’re reading the essay through the week and will discuss it in the next class. Additionally, each student picks one work in the canon of western art and the way the artwork deals with time!
This week was all about archives: the nature of archives, the role they play for a person, a society, a collective, even the nation. We worked with the nature of museums, libraries, and archives. The class discussed the various kinds of archives and the elements that go into them, through case studies of the Indian Memory Project and the Asia Art Archive.
This week students have been asked to picture themselves ten years in the future, and bring an object to class, to make that projection. Each student will have 3 to 5 minutes to make a short “show and tell”.