Discover more from 5, 6, 7, 8
this one is about time
Today I will plant chamomile, sage, basil, and a selection of bee-attracting flowers in pots on my balcony. The bee-food plants, or “Bienenfutterpflanzen” as the seed-pack is called, I found on the street. I picked out the herbal/medicinal selection in a flash of inspiration during my latest trip to Bauhaus. This is not the right time of year to plant a garden, as I have been told by friends and the instructions on the back of the seed packets. I don’t care; lately time and I have not been on the same page.
A few months back I shared a timeless sentence written by Fjòla Gautadòttir: “if you keep track of time, time will keep track of you.” Her words have helped me in moments when I have felt trapped in the rigidity of my work schedule, in moments when I have compensated the structureless-ness of freelance work with a military morning routine, in moments when I have needed to loosen up.
Yet these days I wish time kept better track of me. In May I moved into a new apartment, which was exciting but threw my routines out the window. In June and early July I drove around Europe in a Romanian-made champagne-colored car, having the Sagittarian travel binge of a lifetime, skipping last moonth’s newsletter in the process. Since my return, the mountain of tasks to catch up on, people to connect with, and artistic endeavors to pursue has overwhelmed me. I cannot imagine that the time I have could ever be enough to contain it all.
Maybe the problem is not that my time ‘cannot contain it all’, rather it is that ‘I cannot imagine.’ I want a relationship to time in which I feel held by it, as if it is keeping track of me and my rhythms, as if it offers me the minutes I need when I need them, and shaves some off in life’s less delectable moments. Does this sound like time-as-parent? Time-as-servant? Can I push my imagination further? I want a relationship to time where I take care of everything I do with the time I have. I want a relationship with time in which it is only possible to lose track of time if you ask time to lose track of you. I want to be able to talk to time about needing space, and arrange a date to find each other again when the time is right.
I know, I know, time isn’t linear! But do I know what it means that time is non-linear? The answer is: not enough, both in the sense of physics and in the sense of lived experience. However, I have felt and thought about cycles, about bodies large and small and how we notice their orbits, sooner or later. About phases of life and people from the past popping out of nowhere, when you least expected them to, despite how you thought about a resurgence so much that it started to seem like it would never happen. I’ve dipped into behaviors I presumed dead, as if walking into quicksand. I’ve recently done things I’ve never done before, like hiking for 8 hours or taking drugs for a whole weekend, and thought about how some people do these things all the time. It is not only possible but one of the greatest pleasures in life to navigate through these different modalities and feel how differently time operates in them.
We have finite amounts of time here, a fact which seems more real than ever. But this is where I get stuck. Time is non-linear, sure, but also we all die, and what we do with the time we have matters.
It’s easy to get kinda vague and spiritual and philosophical when writing about time. But I want you to know that right now my relationship to time is really painful. It is difficult to describe exactly what I mean. There are concrete things that are contributing to the pain, like how since the move, I’m out of rhythm with my morning routine. My Dad is really sick, and so is one of my best friends. I’m broke, and I have a lot to take care of in order to get more work. It’s summer and “escaping” time with little holidays, sunny walks, and staring into someone’s love-filled eyes just feels right, right now. I’m not sad. I’m not even stressed out. It’s more that I feel the pressure of time not being enough, of me needing more time than I have access to, of there being so much in this life that I want and need, and that you can’t have everything. It’s like a latent, deep kind of growing pain. Is this next-level adulthood? Is this the feeling of a page being turned?
Personifying large invisible forces is something I learned to do as a Christian kid, and it can be helpful in times of inexplicable pain. So: in astrology, Saturn is the time-keeper, and the ancient Hellenistic astrologers called Saturn the farmer. The farmer needs to keep track of the seasons and the cycles of the year because crops need to be planted at a certain time in order to survive. It’s a rule, it’s a must, it’s survival, it is how it is. I do not live a life where it matters when I plant my bee-food flowers, in the sense that I do not grow the food I eat. This is great, in a way. I am free to play. But I do live in a present time where the future of bees is under threat, and I am the result of a past that generated that threat. Can planting my balcony garden at this silly time of year be mere play?
Being silly with time is essential. Why? For political reasons. Don’t get me started on the role that centralizing and regulating of time played in the entrenchment of capitalism, the industrial revolution and the wages, and how that fueled colonialism. Being non-rational and unpredictable and chaotic is important – if nothing else, just to keep the balance.
I’ll stop here because I don’t have answers or a neat way to tie up what I am in the thick of processing. If you have thoughts, resources, or ideas, please share them with me! If you empathize or can relate or connect to what I am talking about, don’t hesitate to reach out!
This edition of 5, 6, 7, 8 was lovingly edited by Charlie Trueheart.
Just spent a week as AD on set for Melanie Jame Wolf’s film entitled THE CREEP. Working with MJ is always inspiring, and this time was even more so. The exhibition that the film will be shown in opens in late October – I’ll give you a heads-up when the time is nigh.
Also in October, I begin a master’s program called Live Art Forms at Akademie der Bildende Kunste in Nuremberg. I’m excited about the learning, structure, and challenge that it will bring to my practice. For month-long periods throughout the next two years, I’ll be looking for dog-friendly housing in Nuremberg. Got ideas? Know people?
Do check out the Tanz & Ökologie program at Tanz im August! I’m excited about seeing Shelley Etkin, Roni Katz and Anna Natt, as well as Sheena McGrandles, Claire Vivianne Sobbotke, and Abigail Sanders.
Later in August, I’ll be in Copenhagen performing with my old pal Nikima Jagudajev for Basically, once more. We’re doing it at Enter Art Fair, and there is a short trailer in the link. Here is the longer one, beautifully edited by Salomon Poutsma: