Has Time Become Space?



       “Has time become space?” Dr. Mary Ann Doane began with the words. There was a lecture organized by Chukyo University at Science Hall in Nagoya City Science Museum yesterday. Dr. Doane, the professor of Modern Culture and Media at Brown University in the U.S, talked about the spatilization of time at the lecture.

     Actually I could hardly get the picture during the lecture because I’ve never studied the philosophies on time and space argued by Kant, Bergson, and James. However, it was quite interesting that she compared these three visual arts: digital arts, movies, and trailers to explain the spatilization of time. What she used as examples for the theme were a picture taken by Hiroshi Sugimoto, a Taiwanese film named Goodbye, Dragon Inn, and two movie trailers of Spiderman and Gangs of New York.


      First of all, Dr. Doane showed the audience a trailer of Spiderman without any explanations. And then she showed a black and white photo taken by Hiroshi Sugimoto, the photographer. It was one of his works, a series “Theaters”. Sugimoto took the photo by long exposure during a film at an old movie theater. As a result, the photo has an illuminating blank screen and empty sheets. It looks like a just picture of an unused theater, but it isn’t. The condensed time of a two-hour cinema is packed in the image.

dragon inn


     Secondly, what she showed the audience was an ending scene of a film, Goodbye, Dragon Inn, made in Taiwan six years ago. At the last scene, are viewers shown that a cleaning woman moving along the sheets at an old theater. After the cleaning woman left the place, the camera is still shooting, and viewers just see the empty theater at least for two or three minutes. It looks like a motionless photograph, but it isn’t. It’s a motion picture.  GoNY

     Thirdly, we saw another movie trailer of Gangs of New York. Dr. Doane talked about the trailer with the Spiderman’s one. According to her, those movies trailers are typical Hollywood style. That is, both of them have many fragment images which changes very fast, dramatic music, impact sounds, solemn male voice over, names of director and main characters, and of course no end. Trailers are totally different works from their original movies, but they had the whole stories because they are made by original movies compressed, omitted, chopped and restructured. 

     Finally, according to Dr. Doane, people feel the time by the sun’s moving in the past, but now we recognize it by the clock, which is the symbol of labor and technology. The relation of time and space has changed at each era. She didn’t answer to the question, “Has time become space?” at the lecture. She threw the question to the audience. I can’t answer because the lecture was too difficult and the theme is too deep for me, but it was nice to have had an opportunity to think about the relation of time and space this time.


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