Curated Projects: About Time

There are many ways to engage with time, from celebrating the fractional second to prolonging the experience of reading and writing so that it lasts for centuries:

The Decisive Moment (Images à La Sauvette) by Henri Cartier-Bresson, published in 1952, contained his foundational formulation of photography that reflected the capabilities of what were then relatively new small cameras and more light-sensitive films: “To me, photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”

El Libro Que No Puede Esperar (The Book That Cannot Wait) is a book of short fictions by younger Latin American writers that is made to begin disappearing as soon as it is opened, urging the book’s owner to hurry and read while it is still possible to do so;  

Cent mille milliards de poèmes (100,000 Billion Poems) by Raymond Queneau (1961) uses strips of paper to divide up ten sonnets so that a reader can reassemble them to make new poems, allowing enough reading (and, in effect, writing) for over a hundred centuries:

Whale Hunt by Jonathan Harris uses a chronometer to make a photograph every five minutes, even while he is sleeping, but then uses an EKG-like presentation so that the reader can search out the images he made when he was most excited and his photographic heartbeat speeded up;

Three Seconds From Eternity (Trois secondes d’éternité) is French photographer Robert Doisneau’s modest acknowledgment that the 110 photographs in the book, his life’s work, account for only about three seconds of existence given the fractional second each image was exposed;

Vu magazine, founded In 1928, was a pioneering picture magazine created to be a reflection of “the speeded-up rhythm of contemporary life” rather than Life magazine’s focus on what was to be shown and seen, including “the faces of the poor and the gestures of the proud,” as well as “strange things—machines, armies, multitudes, shadows in the jungle and on the moon…” Vu was more about the adverb, Life about the noun.