Sophia del Rio

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On the Quiet Take

Art South, Fort Worth, Texas
Public Installation

We perceive time as passing, and moving forwards. The installation acts as a time capsule. The scrolls of piano paper feed through the player piano and a familiar song can be heard. The scrolls are hung and suspended around the box, and hidden fans blow the scrolls. While we can recognize the song titles, we can’t hear the music. The scrolls have dashes cut out that trigger the mechanical piano to play a note in the song. The song can play forward, and backwards by changing the direction the paper feeds. Here the songs are quiet, and unplayed.

There is a bed in the corner of the capsule, with greenware pillows and a sculpture of a life-sized stoneware rabbit. The greenware pillows will begin to crack and collapse, turning back to clay dust. As the bed deflates the rabbit will sink to the floor. The rabbit, being ceramic, is a hyperobject - an object that will outlast a human lifespan by eons.

More greenware pillows are strewn around the floor, with bisque pillows. The greenware pillows will rapidly deteriorate, and the bisque pillows will deteriorate at a slower rate and possibly begin to grow mold and other organic matter. The perception of time moving forward comes from the perspective that we only look at big things. If we were to examine the collapsed pillows, at the microscopic level, the atomic level, the molecules collide and bounce off each other in no order. Time exists both forwards and backwards, at the smallest scale, there is symmetry in time.

A reflective pillar stands at the front of the capsule, reflective objects “tell time.” We see our faces and bodies change as we age though our reflections, again perceiving a forward direction of time. On the pillar sits a sculpture of bisque cigarettes in an ashtray. The cigarettes are stacked in a precarious, and unusual way. The cigarettes are an interesting metaphor for time. They come neat and orderly in a pack, and once opened and consumed they become used, broken, and discarded in a way that reflects the phenomenon of entropy. Each cigarette could be a person’s time on their smoke break, the time to smoke while waiting for the bus, etc. The cigarettes scattered and stacked in a pile reflect the symmetry of time at the atomic level. The forward direction of time comes from looking at the macroscopic world, when we look at very small things, time loses its forward direction.