What do we know of time when all we can know for real is now ?

How long is a moment ? How does a moment feel ? What is the past, what is the future ?

The Moments project investigates the perceptual length of ’a moment’ of attention and of the historical tension be- tween the argument for and against time in the universe.

With scientific estimates of what a perceptual ’moment’ often hovering between three and four seconds but opinions across the worlds of art, perception, philosophy and cognition often disagree widely. [1] The project investigated just how long a ’moment’ might be and then asks the question;
’what is it to see the now, remember the past and anticipate the future, though we can conceive of the things are they truly real, do we truly experience them ?’
The ’moments’ project recorded instances of noticing, mo- ments of attention, and records them. Collating video since early 2014 the project has so far recorded close to a thou- sand separate video clips. Contrasting this huge library of intimate moments of ’attention and ’presence’ is a series of extended walking self-portrait video ’derives’ inspired by Guy Debord, the French situationist and would-be father of psychogeography.

Single channel version specially created for ISEA 2017, Manizales Colombia.
June 2017. isea2017.isea-international.org

Figure 1: moments



Extended walks through the streets of Hong Kong and Kowloon were filmed over a two week period in 2015. In the video material the viewer see a central character, the walker, moving through the neon metropolis city-scape and crowded back alleys in continuous framed shots.
These extended pieces of linear video have been treated, graded and finally their core data re-processed to allow each individual frame to be re-played in real-time in any order, at any speed, in any direction. Presenting the viewer with the direct visual equivalent of the universe as a zero energy quantum block state. Where each of us passes through our individual time-lines, experiencing them in random, disconnected order. Unaware that in the next instant we may be 5 years old again or that in our previous moment we were reflecting on our lives from old age. The work investigates the challenge, laid down by McTaggart over a century ago [5] of how we decide if we live in a tensed or tenseless universe.

Figure 2: Derive through Hong Kong




Using real-time evolutionary algorithms to select, edit, compile and present each discrete ’moment’ this dynamic dual- screen installation situates the viewer in the centre of the emotional, philosophical and phenomenological debate on the existence and substance of time and lived experience. [4]

On one screen discrete moments of sense and attention, on the other a continuous central figure surrounded at every moment by a maelstrom of temporal shift in one of the complex cities in the world. Creating a temporal deep map in the style of William Least Heat-Moon’s Psychogeographic Cartographies [3] of both a place and a time. At the same time weaving the challenge of input-output time. Where author, actors, reader and audience’s timelines circle each other. [6] [2]
Time, connected and fractured confronts the viewer with the challenge of participation, a challenge of narratives of perception encased in visible temporal flux.


Breaking up Time Negotiating the Borders between Present, Past and Future. Number January. Vanden- hoeck & Ruprecht. 3–5 pages. www.frias.uni-freiburg.de
[1] Michel Bitbol. 1994. IS NOW A MOMENT IN TIME ?
In Now, Time and quantum mechanics, M. Bitbol and
E.Ruhnau(Eds.).EditionsFrontieÌA ̆res,1–22. [5]JohnEllisMcTaggart.1908.TheUnrealityofTime.
[2] D Buzzo. 2013. Lost time never. In Input Outputs con- ference proceedings. http://www.inputs-outputs.org/
[3] Christopher C Gregory-guider. 2004. ’Deep Maps’: William Least Heat-Moon’s Psychogeographic Car- tographies. 4 (2004), 1–17.
[4] Chris Lorenz and Berber Bevernage (Eds.). 2013.
Mind: A Quarterly Review of Psychology and Philoso- phy 17 (1908), 456–473. http://www.ditext.com/mctaggart/ time.html
[6] Nam June Paik. 1976. INPUT-TIME AND OUTPUT- TIME. Video Art Journal (1976).


The installation has been shown at

‘Digital Futures’ London, July 2016: In conjunction with the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Computer Society, Electronic Visualisation in the Arts 2016 Conference

‘Data Aesthetics’ at OBA Amsterdam, October 2016: In conjunction with Waag Spciety and ACM Multimedia 2016 conference


‘Digital Art: Archiving and Questioning Immateriality’ 5th Computer Arts Congress, Paris, October 2016:

ISEA 2017, Inter society for Electronic Art Conference, Manizales, Colimbia. June 2017. isea2017.isea-international.org

Detail from installation at 5th Computer Art Congress, Paris, October 2016