How to Measure Time like a Contemporary Artist
-Fingernails, like a fragile sculpture made by Mona Hatoum
-Layers of wax dripped down the side of candles- I’m sure some artists have played with this, more than sure, yes, here for example of course like Urs Fischer’s dripping wax people, ephemeral and life-size
-collections of dust from each sweeping displayed like medical evidence in a graph-chart along a long gallery wall, like Mary Kelly’s Post Partum Document
-a roll of ticker tape marked with calendared minutes pulled forth from my premenstrual vagina in a long continuous strand of unending boredom, like Carolee Schneeman and not like her
-plucked eyebrow hairs, collected
-shaved armpit hairs, collected
-scavenged beard hairs
-(and orange peels and banana peels and the tops of pineapples and strawberries- all the forms of discarded hair and skin)
(L’s tomatoes in the fridge)
-the fluctuating number of minutes spent on social media, or clicking back and forth between facebook page, gmail account 1, gmail account 2, facebook page, always with the feeling that there was something else you had intended to look at, something much more interesting for you to click on, somewhere….
-steps taken pacing around the house, back and forth from room to room, recorded, in a chart-graph
-number of pages read and re-read
-number of words repeatedly used out loud
-number of repeated jokes
-number of re-told stories
-number of video/phone calls to people in other countries
(recorded lengths of said calls, recorded number of total minutes since x time spent wearing headphones)
-picked and dying and soon dried wildflower bouquet
-cigarette butts, pots full of ash- collected, sealed, strung along a thin silver wire, around the top of the room
–cups of coffee, preserved in their original mug form. A pyramid of these.
-cups of tea, see above. A mountain of these.
-imprints on the bed sheets.
–number of kisses, measure 1: small and measure 2: long.
-number of hands grasping the back of a shirt.
-number of neck cracks (recorded, rhythmic audio track)
-number of sighs (measure 1: pleasure. Measure 2: boredom, ennui.)
-increasing doneness of 3000 piece puzzle, tracked and recorded in stop motion animation. (The animation so far lasts .4 seconds, only the hot air balloons.)
-trips to the grocery store- tracked in an exponential graph with x and y axes
-amount of chocolate bars purchased tracked on same graph
-empty beer cans, preserved, flattened, used to build a house, an entire house
-empty wine bottles, preserved, used to fill the house made out of empty beer cans
-a palimpsest of to do lists on a whiteboard- make prints of each edition, display the prints on transparencies shown through with light, build the transparencies into a circling sequence of images viewed through a zoopraxiscope, like Eadward Muybridge.
-take a sculptural relief of the remnants of each meal. Exhibit an immersive gallery of pan scrapings, interspersed with butter wrappings. (There will be many)
-loaves of bread consumed: marked by one end piece representing each loaf, each preserved in taxidermy goo inside a jar, many jars assembled on a table, a table made of wooden pallets picked up from the street, a pauper’s Damien Hirst
-number of showers taken: acquire a monumentally large canvas. Partition it into at least one thousand squares. Fill each square with a watery print of soap scuzz and bits of skin- all the detritus that blocks up the shower drain. Each mark represents one shower taken. (Can be adjusted per person inhabiting house, one canvas per person. Compare marks. The fingerprint of water consumption).
-sesame crackers consumed
-number of times glasses taken on and off, per household, per capita. Chart rising and falling amounts on days spent in bed, versus days spent in the office attempting to do work, versus days spent reading at the dining table, versus days spent going outside, versus late night puzzle-ing sessions, versus mid-day puzzling sessions.
-Mark these statistics in a performance, each removal and replacement of spectacles inscribed in a long series of blinks- see: Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present at the Met, see: Marina Abramovic: A Living Door of the Museum (least-appropriate social distancing reference)
-Number of mornings woken up, sequentially. One after the next. Each day. Even if the morning takes place in the afternoon. Even if it takes place at night. Mark each of these with a trophy. Award that trophy to yourself.
-Cut a hole in your timed schedule. See: Yoko Ono’s Grapefruit. Watch the plants grow outside.
Sara Rosenthal is a contemporary artist and measurer of time. She hails from Los Angeles, California. She has an MA in Performance, Design, and Practice from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. She has made art on Paros Island, in Jerusalem, in various small towns in Italy, and across the US. She has also lived and worked in Spain, where she researched the art of flamenco. She recently (although time is relative) completed an art residency at Snehta in Kypseli, working with local curator Ariadne Tzika, and presented a solo exhibition called “Vegetal// Flesh” at 2/3 Project Space in Exarchia. Her work can be found here: http://saratrueart.com and @saratrueart