Sunday, October 16, 2011

The distance to the Past

An early evening in Eleusina, at a site that has been used for rituals for thousands of years, by the sea, in front of an ethnographic museum, Per Huttner and Fatos Ustek conducted a survey how to measure the distance to the past. They both wore lab coats and started the short action by facing each other.

When Fatos stepped forwards and backwards, she pushed and pulled Per in the same direction. He read a quote about science's preference for treating time as something separate from the physical world. He read the short quote in the same direction as his body moved. If his body moved backwards he read backwards and if his body moved forwards he read the text in a normal way.

Each time Fatos stopped moving her male collaborator, they made a mark on the ground and measured the length of the line. After an unknown calculation, they declared the distance to the past. After that they served wine in a test tube to a member of the audience. The age of the wine corresponded to the time announced. The performance ended when the test tube accidentally broke.

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