Tactics and patience are necessary to define time. For what is time? Take a moment to reflect, and you’ll find yourself inundated! Time embodies duration, evolution, simultaneity, along with becoming, succession, repetition and so on. Moreover, does time flow, or does it regenerate?
Defining time through art
Since time immemorial, man has tried to understand and define time. An intrinsic universal parameter for some, a figment of the human spirit for others, time assumes the shape of whatever framework we conceive… and, it forever escapes us.
If philosophers, scientists and artists of all sorts have tried to define time, why not let multimedia creators join in the fray? Vertiges, now playing at the Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, offers an artistic perception time, which makes this otherwise elusive concept tangible.
The measure of time
Though the definition of time seems to slip through our fingers, humanity has nonetheless learned to measure it. Indeed, the origin of its measurement is directly related to astronomy! After all, what defines the length of a day if not the Earth’s rotation on its axis? And the cycle of lunar phases certainly forms the basis of the monthly calendar, just as the length of the year is based on the time it takes for Earth to complete an orbit around the Sun.
Of course, such measurements have been refined over time, and mechanical clocks – superseded by their atomic cousins – have replaced the eye of the astronomer in regulating our daily lives, but in the end it’s all based on the sky. The fundamental natural cycles, thanks to which our distant ancestors learned to regulate their lives and plan ahead, have everything to do with the celestial ballet.
Tempo embodies all of this. For the first time, man understands that day after day, the Sun returns with its reassuring warmth. We witness time’s celestial gear works with the rising and setting of the stars. And by leaving our planet, from a space vessel far from Earth, we learn that our notions of time, and the present, all become relative on a cosmic scale.
Since the dawn of time, studying the sky in pursuit of answers to this great cosmic mystery has provided an endless bounty of knowledge and humility… all the while offering a profoundly breathtaking and poetic vista. Tock…