Our Tools

"We become what we behold. We shape our tools and thereafter our tools shape us." - Marshall McLuhan

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Warping Time

A Jump to the Left from K Wilson on Vimeo.

Long before I had ever heard the term “specious present”, I had been fascinated by what it entailed. Our perception of time is altered by our senses. We do not naturally perceive a set rhythm of timekeeping, but must rely on external cues to let us know how quickly or slowly it passes. The specious present is the moment in which someone is aware of the present, by detecting motion at an interval. When watching something for the first time, that interval seems much slower than it does on subsequent viewings. The first time through, with full concentration, the mind perceives and catalogs each detail. The second time through, the entire experience happens more quickly, with the mind knowing what to expect. The first time is the specious present. The second is a combination of the present and memory. The video is the same length in minutes and seconds, but the two experiences feel as if they take a different amount of time.

When I began playing with layering filters, I noticed how they seemed to alter the duration of the video, even though I had not altered the actual playback speed, and I had already seen the base footage multiple times, meaning it should only get faster with each viewing. While some effects made it seem to move more quickly, others slowed it down. I started over with new video, focusing on clocks and timers, changing up how the passage of time was demonstrated either audibly or visually, and began using filters with the goal of seeing how the changes in the video signal could either enhance or counter act the perceived timekeeping in each segment. At least one effect, usually more, extends from one segment to the next, so the effects themselves are each experienced in multiple situations. They build or decrease over time, each overlapping and starting independently of one another. It is in the combinations of these overlapping filters that a sort of mood is created, at times making time seem frenetic, while at others making it relaxed, even though the same constant runs through each clip – the marking of seconds.

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