How I Solved It: The Problem of Suspense. By Sarah Sze
I had worked with moving images in my first museum show, in 1999. In “Many a Slip,” dozens of small flickering projections were scattered within a plethora of objects. In the two decades since, the tools for editing the moving image have improved, and their presence in daily life has dramatically increased. Now I wanted to try to give moving images equal weight to objects—to experiment with the edge between the two. I wanted to completely immerse the viewer, to break out of the frame of the flat screen and into real space.
My solution in the “Timekeeper” series, which I began in 2015, was to make the desks—where I was editing the moving images—the sculpture. The tools I used to make the piece would be incorporated into it. My coffee cup, a wilting houseplant, the stool—all of them became elements of the work, as did the dozens of images that were strewn across my computer desktop.
The desk acted like the projector at a center of a planetarium, throwing images onto swaying sheets of paper, onto the viewers in the room, and across the walls: a bird landing, a cheetah running, a landscape rushing past train windows. These images circle the entire room, tracing its architecture—on for one minute, and off for one minute, creating collisions of images in innumerable variations. Meanwhile, an array of digital clocks keeps time in twelve different time zones. A counter tracks the distance between the Earth and the spaceship Voyager 1—11.7 billion miles, at last count—as it speeds through space.
Image: Sarah Sze, Timekeeper, 2016. Mixed media, mirrors, wood, stainless steel, archival pigment prints, projectors, lamps, desks, stools, stone. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist, Tanya Bonakdar Gallery and Victoria Miro Gallery. © Sarah Sze