10 September 2013

Interview - Giangaetano Patanè

I just went to see the new exhibition of Giangaetano Patanè at the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome. I was particularly moved by a sense of anguish or helplessness emanating from his works of art, in fact I felt this particular exhibition was more mature, something the artist has been nurturing over time and was now ready to reveal.. In the following short interview I asked him to tell us a little about his alchemic quest:
F.Ruspoli: what are the elements within your art?

G.Patanè: my artistic search has two elements; one is a particular type of aestheticism and the second element is Time
F.R.: could you expand on that ?
G.P.: The first is the uncodifiable aestheticism, undefinable and capable of transforming an object into “attractive substance”, the second is a representation of time, sometimes it can take the shape of a face dissolving in the air or it can take the shape of a tree but it’s always there: that eternal conflict between man and the incredible pain of the escaping present. My artistic search stands sustained by these two legs.

The exhibition is programmed to close on the 18th of September so if you are in Rome I strongly recommend you take a moment to see it. The Chiostro del Bramante is by Bar della Pace at Via Arco della Pace, 5 it is open every day from 10am to 8pm.

16 March 2013

Shakespeare on Time


I have written about time in poetry last year in my “Time in Poetry – Haiku”, but after re-watching Ran by Kurosawa and Titus by Taymor (both films are pretty wild interpretations of Shakespearian plays) I came across this verse from Macbeth regarding time:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

I liked the idea of time being a succession of meaningless syllables uttered by a passing shadow and was intrigued to discover more of Shakespeare’s vision of time which always seem so linked to fate and the inevitability of death.

I found the following:

...Things without all remedy
Should be without regard: what’s done, is done.

With these words Lady Macbeth tries to reassure her husband and later herself by muttering “What’s done cannot be undone”.
In Othello Shakespeare writes of “the vale of years” not to be confused with the vale of tears though the echo is suggestive. In the 15th century the Vale came to be a metaphor for the span of life between the peaks of birth and death in which we live our careworn lives. "Vale of trouble and woe," "vale of weeping," "vale of misery," and "vale of tears" illustrate typical uses of the word before Shakespeare. Othello's phrase, however, seems intended in a more neutral sense; the "vale of years" is the broad, flat stretch of middle age beyond the slope of youth.

I’d like to conclude with 2 sonnets; XII and LX (like the hours and minutes...)

When I do count the clock that tells the time,
And see the brave day sunk in hideous night;
When I behold the violet past prime,
And sable curls, all silvered o'er with white;
When lofty trees I see barren of leaves,
Which erst from heat did canopy the herd,
And summer's green all girded up in sheaves,
Borne on the bier with white and bristly beard,
Then of thy beauty do I question make,
That thou among the wastes of time must go,
Since sweets and beauties do themselves forsake
And die as fast as they see others grow;
And nothing 'gainst Time's scythe can make defence
Save breed, to brave him when he takes thee hence.

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main of light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope, my verse shall stand
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

13 March 2013

Different visions of time

There is an incredible variety of ways people perceive the flow of time. Linear time for example is pretty straight forward (no pun intended), it can be seen as a straight line in which time flows forward, but many questions arise with this model; why can we only perceive the present?  is it possible to jump to a different part of this line ? can time flow backwards on this line ?
We often assume the past is behind us and the future lies ahead but recent studies have found that not everyone perceives time in this way. The Aymara people in the Andes for example point in front of them to indicate the past and wave behind to indicate the future. Probably because the past was seen but the future is unseen. The Pormpuaaw people in Australia perceive a timeline running east (past) to west (future) so where they point depends on where they are facing. In China it not uncommon to represent time on a vertical axis with the past above and the future below and for the Yupno people of Papua new Guinea Time flows uphill and is not even linear. The past is downhill towards the mouth of the river and their timeline is anchored in the kinked topographic properties of the river.
In fact the representation of the timeline as a straight line with the years along its axis is quite recent one. Its use only became diffuse in the mid 18th century. So though culture certainly plays an important role in our perception of time I think there is an evolution in the way we perceive time. And this evolution is leading us to a better understanding of what time really is.