This gallery contains images from Being and Slow Time. This exhibition was created by Paul Harris, Professor of English & Bellarmine Forum Co-Director, and Richard Turner, Bellarmine Forum Artist in Residence. Being and Slow Time displayed in the William H. Hannon Library from October - December 2016.
"Being and Slow Time" was a designated "Slow Time Zone" created in conjunction with the 2016 Bellarmine Forum, Common Book, and SLOW LMU. Click on the photos to see the descriptions for each display of the exhibition, along with "Slow Time Exercises" associated with them. These exercises were designed as class assignments. Although familiarity with A Tale for the Time Being will enriched the experience, the exhibition could be enjoyed fully without having read the book.
Introduction to Slow Time Exercises
Playing off of Martin Heidegger's monumental tome Being and Time, this exhibition signals a shift from Heidegger's phenomenological, human-centered analysis of time to an ecological, earth-centered vision in which human and natural histories have become inextricably entwined.
The title A Tale for the Time Being alludes to Zen master Dōgen's teaching that "time itself is being, and all being is time." All existing things are time beings, from humans to trees to stones to mountains to earth. Author Ruth Ozeki extrapolates this vision into a complex textual ecology of interacting temporalities in which human lives collide with other time beings including jellyfish, animals, birds, floating garbage patches, oceanic gyres, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Her narrative does not depict or contain these planetary time beings as separate entities; tides, waves, and other non-human time beings become purveyors of narrative and active narrative participants.
The exhibition offers a creative admixture rather than a critical analysis of A Tale for the Time Being. The novel provides a set of primary elements that are incorporated in the various displays in a variety of ways. Sifting through a book to identify suggestive things, images, and ideas for possible inclusion in installations changes how a text is viewed. The novel is not read as a narrative but looked at as a cabinet of curiosities. Selected textual images, things, or ideas become found objects, for which appropriate material expression must then be found. Extending the book into installations unfolds in different ways, from simple correlations (an object represents something named in the text) to conceptual extrapolations (imagining a three-dimensional visualization of philosophical notions). Treating a book as a curiosity cabinet initiates a process that culminates in library display cases and bookshelves turning into curiosity cabinets of a contemporary kind.
The exhibition theme of ecological slow time is explored through traditional and contemporary stone displays. Viewing stones invite different encounters with rocks, from an aesthetic gaze grounded in stillness and contemplation to a visceral, visual-tactile feeling for geological processes. Balanced stones create a contrast between precarious ephemerality and the deep time of rocks. Stacking stones is an increasingly popular form of passing meditative slow time; interested parties are invited to balance rocks in The Displacement Garden (next to Laband Art Gallery).
Setting imposing stones in Hannon Library without imposing on the setting is accomplished by combining lithic landscapes and library elements in composite compositions. Bookshelves become tidal shelves; book stacks merge with stone stacks; book spines transposed into poems manifest as graphic strata forming 'sedimental stories.' This synthetic method connects complementary forms of slow time: the slow time of reading, the calm study space of the library, the ideal of the scholarly life on one side; the slow time of stones, the eons of geology, the contemplation of deep time on the other side.