Here and Gone.
As much affection as I have for the newly opened and nearly perfect The Plain of Heaven, this is why Creative Time takes up so many chambers in my oversized art heart. They let everybody in.
Times Square lives by its name: it's a square that does everything it possibly can to contain time. In the space of an hour Song Dong took a brush and some water, and did nothing but remind us of the movement of time's full circle. Quite a few specifically came to to see the performance, but most of the audience consisted of people wandering through in a rush to be somewhere else. Some of them slowed for the work. Some of them were stopped by it. Some of them stepped on it. All responses were appropriate.
There was a plethora of overheard comments that could fill this blog. People were baffled. People were fascinated. Then there were those who got it, and didn't even know it. Two businessmen were walking through and I heard the one ask the other what was going on. They were waiting for the light so I told them that the artist was painting the time on the concrete with water. Without missing a beat, one of the men said, "He'll always be behind, won't he?" HaHa. Yep. Gone by the time it gets there. Impermanence with a capital "I".
One common theme I kept hearing was humor. Even the most curious usually found their way to a joke by the end of the conversation. "I thought he was predicting the lottery numbers." "This is a guy with too much time on his hands." You get the drift. It was the closest escape hatch from a direct and intimate portrait of time.
Watching for the entire hour was rewarding. The first time I checked my watch I thought that maybe a half hour had passed. We hadn't quite hit the fifteen minute mark yet. I had no feeling whatsoever for how things were moving. By the end, as the artist followed the arc of the hour into the last corner of a circle, I realized how his focus had become mine. How his movements had ticked off the moments in some primal clock inside me. His last strokes were like something breaking into a slow blossom.
Time hadn't dissolved as much as it had evaporated. And I have to say: It never looked so good.