The film describes time as something that is varying and non linear. The lives of the two characters, Joel and Clementine, much like any other person revolves around the memories they form alongside other things. However, when their memories are erased, they begin to form new ones. These memories are not dissimilar to the old ones they had formed however, the time they take to form these is what truly matters if they ever are placed in similar situations.
Time for them had taken a huge jump into the future once their memories were erased. When you jump, you move forward, but, the the process in the middle is what you miss and this is what leads to forming your memories.
Their mind functions the same way, however, it is as though a part of them has instantly disappeared. This keeps growing back with time, but, it should restrict the evolution of their relationship however, it does not since in this situation it is just what they need and it turns out in their favour.
Walter Benjamin talks about how, with time and with increasing intensity, every work of art, regardless of it’s form and make, has been, is, and will be reproducible. When a man made product has to be reproduced, it is more possible to reproduce that with the same or varying form to serve the same function, but, when it comes to a work of art, the form and structure may vary, but, the artwork itself MUST be imitated precisely to perform it’s function. For example, to reproduce say, a hammer, all the craftsman would need is a a handle of a particular yet, varying length and a heavy, object, again of a particular, yet varying form, material, weight, tensile strength, and more. The fact being, that these objects can vary and hence, the form of the structure can too. However, a work of art would have to be reproduced with extreme intricacy, it’s only a matter of, how intricate? In today’s day and age, we can reproduce a work of art with more precision than we could have imagined five, ten, twenty or hundred years earlier. For me, the next step would be able to acquire texture by photography and print. the concept of 3D printers could possibly help us obtain that goal.
He also talks about how today, a work of art, in may of it’s genres, can be reproduced. In fact, in some of it’s genres like photography and phonograph records, it can be reproduced more precisely than any obtainable to a someone looking at the original artwork. He mentions how the lens has surpassed the capabilities of the eye and the recorder of the ear. This in many ways is true. However, when it comes to a work of art, it is subjective to the viewer what he thinks of it and what he can obtain from it. So while the the capabilities of the lens may have evolved to great levels, the eye has a special friend called the brain. The union of these forms the greatest function that a lens does never and may never be able to perform. This function being to enable the viewer observe and perceive what he wishes to. Every man is made and thinks differently. For example, when a given number of people are placed viewing a beautiful landscape which also in a way is art, one may choose to only look at the birds in the cerulean blue sky soaring , while, one may look at the mountains ranges meeting the cerulean blue lake and one might just sit there gazing at the whole picture. What this means is, each viewer derives something different from the work of art by perceiving different elements in differing ways. The functions in a camera will only show the viewer what could be captured in it’s physical form. He also talks about the aura around an object which again, cannot be captured. But then again, I believe the viewer forms the aura to something for himself. And this, though hard and subjective, is possible to do in certain reproductions of certain artworks.
Artist: Vincent Van Gogh
Date: June 1889
Genre: Landscape; Oil on Canvas
Dimensions: 73.7 x 92.1 cm
Location: Museum of Modern Art, New York
This oil on canvas by post-impressionist artist, Vincent Van Gogh, is a representation of the view just before sunrise from his window with a merged in depiction of an idealized village. In it’s literal context, the painting describes Van Gogh’s perception of the space around him, which for him was fantastical, yet, physical.
The elements in the work of art like the sun, stars, sky and wind all exist individually and are by themselves narrating a story, but, together they describe the homogeneity of what makes the space within that time, which in this case, is dawn.
The minimal use of color variation and consistant brush strokes in the piece of art led me to evaluate the artwork as a whole before even observing the individual elements within the painting.
Time is a concept, the passage of which, is extremely subjective. Hours could pass in an instant and that same instant could stretch itself to feel like hours. The passage of time depends completely on how engaging the space is in which the time is spent.
The strokes in the painting, to me, are an expression of time lapses and derivatively, it’s passage. The view of the sky just before sunrise as mesmerizing as it is, is never motionless. Every second of every minute, the colors in the sky change shades as the sun rises. The variation in the colors is only a given few, but their tints and shades make the sky look complete as it continuously changes color, form and motion.
The painting depicts, at the same time, two states of the sky. The brush strokes make it seem motionless, yet, the passage of time is evident. It is this passage of time, within a space, that creates a memory, the memory created by Van Gogh before and during creating the Starry Night.
An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge or “A dead man’s dream” is a short story by American author, Ambrose Bierce. The story is about a man, who is about to be executed by being hung from the bridge he was attempting to sabotage and his disorderly escape.
The story begins with him standing on a plank opposing two guard officials and the executioner. As the noose of the rope is tightened around his neck, he distinctly begins to hear his clock tick. Flash memories of his wife keep whizzing past his brain. Looking around for options to flee, he realises it is too late. As the opposite end of the plank is ungrounded, he miraculously falls into the water, unties his bonds and begins to swim away. Once he surfaces, he begins to distinctly hear and more importantly, takes notice of the sounds of nature, like the water gushing around him, the birds chirping in the woods and the stiff breeze blowing against his wet clothes. This moment of his was interrupted by the fire of a rifle aimed straight at him. As the bullets kept shooting by, he swam as fast as he could to avoid getting hit by them. Once he reached land, he again was delighted to have survived and began his journey back home past the woods. During this time he was constantly thinking of his wife and child and how lucky he is to have survived. Between this and the time he reaches home, he has multiple near death experiences with the guards, but, eventually makes it home alive. As he walks towards his home, he sees his wife who too is delighted to see him alive. The two run towards each other, their faces blooming with joy and as he reaches her and hugs her he feels a rope tighten around his neck, crushing it in an instant as he collapses.
It is revealed that the entire escape right from the moment of the fall to the time he collapses was all a figment of his imagination. His escape was a dream that lasted in real time, only a fraction of a second, however, in his mind, hours had passed. This phenomenon where your brain expands time to create an unreal scenario is called the “twilight zone”. The scientific reason for this is that during a near death experience, our pineal gland located in the centre of our brain secretes a substance called dimethyl tryptamine or DMT which causes visual and auditory hallucinations.
The concept of the warping time by a person when placed in a particular situation sounds impossible to us. However, we do it every single day without even realising it. When we watch something on television that we are not interested in, time, for us, slows down as opposed to when it breezes by when we watch something comparatively interesting. Although, achieving the capability to warp the passage of time consciously is a lot harder.
The story takes the reader over several platforms of expectations and although the pace of the story may be slow, the reader remains engaged. The climax of the story leaves the reader baffled. It however, makes one wonder about things that may have been, chances to do things that have moved into the past and may not be retrievable. He ‘could have’ fallen straight into the river because the rope was too long, he ‘could have’ miraculously made it home alive and he did, but, only inside his mind. To me it was crucial for him to have created this scenario in his head. It helped him see and touch his wife one last time before he died and passed on, even if it were only his imagination. For his imagination was so precise that he could not tell the difference. Is not that what actually matters? That he believed he lived. A millisecond before his body shut down, he was a happy man, in the arms of a loving wife, who had just regained the gift of life. The reality does not matter. Life is about the reality you create for yourself. The picture you paint in your head.
Time is a concept that is both, emergent and created. To categorise it into either one, would be to disregard it’s functionality in the role of the infinite singularities that move within it. On one hand, it is a globally recognised sequential break down of intervals in existence; while on the other, it is the fundamental concept of what constitutes our four dimensional world.
Contrary to popular belief, time does not move forward or backward. It is, in fact, the movement of the singularities within it that give it direction. This idea proposes that since time is a constant, the past and the future are actually part of the present, which is NOW!
Einstein said, “The distinction between the past, present and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion.”
While the passage of a particular interval of time would mean something to one consciousness, it would mean something completely different to another. The same passage of time would vary once more for the consciousness created by the two entities all together. So while, time may be constant and unaltered, it certainly is tangible.
In 1915, Albert Einstein proposed his theory of general relativity. This theory was the basis for two people to agree upon what they see, when one of them is stationary, while, the other is moving. This theory later went on to form the ground work on developing the Global Positioning System and explain occurrences such as gravity, space-time, time dilation, black holes, the fourth dimension and the most fascinating of all, time travel.
Unlike the Newtonian theory, which states that every object that has mass exerts an attractive force (gravity), Einstein concluded that it was not the object itself that exerted the force, but it was the presence of the object in space that was warping space-time. The warping of the space-time, which can be interpreted as a very thin cloth, caused the movement of the objects within it.
Einstein discarded the concept of the past, present and future calling it “a stubbornly persistent illusion”. He believed that there was only the now. So if there were an alien, a hundred thousand light years away eating a sandwich right this instant, because of the distance to be travelled by light, which governs time, that alien would actually be eating that sandwich a long time ago on ‘earth-time’, around the time of the second world war.
In his theory, Einstein explained that the closer you get to the speed of light, the slower time gets. This is known as Time Dilation. If one, by some miracle, was to reach the speed of light, which is a constant, time for that person would stop completely. So naturally, if one went faster than that speed, one should be able to travel back in time. This concept however, was proved impossible by Einstein in his equation E=MC2. The closer one was to get to the speed of light, the more would be the mass of the object. Since kinetic energy is directly proportional to the mass of the object, the object would be of infinite mass when it reached the speed of light. It would hence, take infinite energy to move that object, which is clearly not possible given today’s technology.