Paris Clocks 02

Paris Clocks 02480
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2 Essays

  1. Nikita Pokrovsky | State University-Higher School of Economics, Moscow says:

    In contemplating contemporary globalization the main emphasis should not be placed on looking at the separate "trajectories" of social changes in a particular sphere, but at the interaction between these changes, their interweaving and reciprocity.

    The younger generations have accepted this trend of universal changes. Young people live in short time spans ("projects"), without setting themselves long-term goals. An individual evolves as he or she transfers from one "life project" to another. Each "project" (education, a new job, a personal relationship, and so on) blots out the memories of a past "project" in the perception of a young person. Each time, he or she begins everything anew. A significant number of young people are inclined to forget the past and have no wish to stir it up. The retrospective depth of their historical thinking has become greatly reduced. Even the Post WWII era is to a certain extent terra incognita for them. In this context, the new god for young people is not the stability of historical retrospective, not the link between centuries and generations, but a state of constant change. What seems like torment for the older generations is another modus vivendi for the young.

    Most young people simply cannot imagine how it is possible to make long-term plans, think about tomorrow, maintain relations with people, and be concerned about one's own authority. For them everything is very transient, momentary, and superficial. But this does not mean a decline in morals, rather it is the new reality of globalization. It is bringing with it a new perception of social time, broken down into short “projects" and demands from a person, primarily a young one, maximum mobilization of current resources and then the rapid transfer to a new project. The world is never likely to return to the old perception of social time. The older generations will have to accept the new concept of time and find their niche in it, without necessarily imitating the youth culture and its style, but by establishing relations with this culture. This constitutes the high art of being beneficial to the younger generation. And this art is a means for maintaining the longevity of the older generations. Any departure into blind defense or alienation is fraught if not with physical, at least, with social and psychological self-destruction.

  2. steviededina says:

    Upon viewing the image, immediately striking is the absence of a center of focus. Rather than taking a photo straight-on of a singular clock face with the other clocks in the periphery, the artist has taken an interesting stance, in which the viewer’s eye is drawn around the image, perhaps in a counter-clockwise motion. This is fitting to the theme of the statue, as it seems to be suggesting that time is non-linear and subjective to each individual viewer. Through the lens of semiology, one could raise questions about the nature of each individual clock; some present roman numerals, others a utilitarian arabic numeral typefont, yet still others show a dash of flair with curling ends at the edge of the numerals. Each clock therefore seems to represent one’s individuality and cultural tastes regarding how one looks at the abstract concept of “time” in a functional, capitalistic life, which demands a certain knowledge of how one fractions their time in relation to their tasks.

    Interesting also is the fact that no two clocks face exactly the same direction, thereby causing the looker to become an exclusive entity. Suppose a hurrying businessman, foreign to the area, catches a glimpse of the statue. We can assume he will pause in confusion, trying to deduce what the time in his current region is, and he will become an excluded party by his lack of knowledge of the structure’s function. The structure pictured thus begs the question, “What is the purpose of time, and for whom does it serve?” Similarly, for the younger generation, who are more familiar with digital clocks, is there a level of exclusion in trying to read a roman numeral type?

    This photograph, and the structure by connection, forces the viewer to question the validity of time and experience. For a child will likely view a different clock than their grandfather; the child drawn to a clock-face closer to their height, a larger one with an easy-to-read clock face of simple arabic numerals, while the grandfather would likely be drawn to a clock closer to his height, perhaps a more familiar antiquated design of roman numerals. In this quite literal conception of taking time at “face-value,” each individual person viewing the clock is realizing a different conception of time, both in style and functionality, as no two clocks in the frame appear to show the same time. This then asks the viewer if time is subjective, and further drives the viewer to question whether one’s conception can truly be more legitimate than another’s. In viewing this physical manipulation of the abstract concept of time, one engages in a meta-analysis of life itself, as the structure pictured demands that the viewer struggle with the legitimacy of multiple forms of truth and reality.