Wednesday, 22 July 2009

If in conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of an artwork, then what of the day, what of the everyday? Can we have a conceptual day just as we can have a conceptual artwork? A day in which all of the strategising and actions are made beforehand, a day in which the performance of hours is a routine. A day in which 'now' has a further duration.

In conceptualising the day, the concept becomes an automaton that executes the day before us. In dreaming last night, in dreaming of this day while sleeping, I brought into existence a framework that allowed today to operate and removed it from the constraints of time. I dreamed the day atemporal.

Ballard, wasn't it, where I first experienced this notion of atemporality through human control (and Gibson now who perpetuates it)? Shopping centres, he wrote somewhere in a dusty past, shopping centres were like deserts. They were so self-fulfilling, so enclosed, so tailored to a perceived purpose that evolution and organic growth were impossibilities. One simply doesn't see extensions on shopping centres. They have expired themselves - like the desert, they've reached a stasis of expiration. Nothing can grow here, this location has stepped outside of time.

And so perhaps it is like this with the day, the everyday, with today. Each night I dream of the consequences of tomorrow, scheduling in my sleep about future actions. Conceptualisations of an expired set of daylight hours beginning at dawn. Tuesday night sets a Wednesday in stone.

Can it be that history can function as this extrapolated, distended and likely irrelevant sleep that I carelessly position before the day? History as a set of architectural plans for a shopping centre, as a schedule for future events, as a concept that manufactures art, as dreams which lay out the day. A future governed from within the past? Where does this leave 'now'?

It depends, inevitably, on where you stand, on which side of the divide. Standing in the shadow of an Asian eclipse, or a Burmese-North Korean nuclear treaty, or a West Bank housing outpost, or an Afghan valley it seems that events have conspired to disallow the kind of conceptualisation that allows the everyday, the 'now', to exist in stasis. Here there is little measured framework in which the day can progress - perhaps only volatility.

However, modern democracies, and here I speak of the United Kingdom more than any other, have an especially developed mode of dreaming a framework for the everyday, a way of conceptualising the state. The United Kingdom has dreamt an atemporality through politics, with New Labour constituting a devious political system that slowly seems to drain the possibility of change from the day. British politics is looking like it has expired itself, even the Opposition is an oxymoron. Slowly government steps outside of time.

So, which side is better to stand on? Volatility or imagined futures? The side of sleep or the side of daylight? Can it be that both are atemporal in a sense? The day in which nothing happens lacks the events that we can measure time by. The day which is in constant flux, obtaining a constancy of volatile happenings, that too is immeasurable.

No comments: