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Time and Conflict

The title of the Art Show was Conflict '09: The Hague, The International City of Conflict.

Most in the world, if they know The Hague at all, think of it as The City of Peace and Justice. That's what their PR says. These artists declare that you cannot have peace and justice without first having conflict, which those two things resolve. Hopefully.

There was a firebreathing act. I asked one of the girls afterwards: No, their clothes are NOT fireproof, just your everyday Goth street wear, and that's lamp oil that they are spitting at the torches. They got lots closer than you see them here, and water-throwers are standing by if there's a fire. If the flames travel back down to their mouths, it's Emergency Med Services time. But they DO put in a lot of rehearsal time.






And then there was Jonathan Schipper out of New York. He mounts two cars on girders and puts pistons underneath them, with a single air compressor driving them into each other --- but, over a period of seven days. It's a simulated head-on crash but slowed so far down in time that you hardly see anything, just hear the metal buckling again and again.

WARNING TRIGGERING for at least one Friend who's just been in a crash. And another who was, last year.

I was in one of these head-ons myself, a few weeks before I started my first year of college, and I was almost killed. A split second one way or the other; I was a passenger and our windows were NOT safety-filmed...

This is about seven days into the simulated crash as it's been developing, they kept the compressors going 24/7:






And this is the endpoint, about 32 hours later than the pic above:








The windows were taped with film and the cars are empty. The windows ended up not fracturing, anyway. But the sculptor's point is that "Cars are extensions of our bodies and our egos" and that's why many people are fascinated with crashes, even though it's basically the same event repeating. He takes one of the four dimensions --- length, breadth, height, and time --- and eliminates the time dimension so that you are "safe" as you study the gears driving the compressor and what is happening to the cars. In real time this crash would be over in a fraction of a second: for example, if both cars were traveling 60 miles/hour, that's 88 feet/second, so they'd be closing at 1/176 second through each foot. He says they're set up to travel three feet into each other.

But ít's totally weird to see / hear / feel how slowly everything is developing.

I dunno about its being safe. Brought back personal memories that were certainly not.

But even in spite of those, I was fascinated at what Jonathan was doing to alter your perception of time. It's just as much a study of how you are reacting to what you are seeing, as it is a visual in-your-face statement.

And I'm glad neither of the girls inhaled at the wrong time. They were dramatically dangerous for those few moments, yes, but also very friendly and eager to talk about their work after the show. Yes, I know it's a lot scarier than it looks and they follow a lot of safety procedures you aren't aware of, but stilllll .... :/

So: real-time and a contrast with molasses-time. Time in our lives passes swiftly and it passes slowly, too, depending on what's happening to us. Either the day is over in a flash or it seems like it will never end...

But some things *are* permanent, though... outside of time.

Blessings Be.

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