Aesthetics for Birds

Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art for Everyone

Maria Brinkcer on The Refusal of Time


This is entry #59 in our 100 Philosophers, 100 Artworks, 100 Words Series.

Philosopher: Maria Brincker, University of Massachusetts-Boston

Artwork: William Kentridge, The Refusal of Time, 2012, 30-minute multimedia installation; Kentridge worked with science historian Peter Galison researching the piece, and collaborators Philip Galison, who composed the score and designed its soundscape, and Catherine Meyburgh, who edited the video.

Words: This installation is a multidimensional reminder of our temporality, yet struggle for permanence. Our being in time as changing organisms, yet agents of lasting effects. Our created contexts of artifacts and cultural domination take center stage – as intricate tools of attempted control and record keeping. Metronomes and breathing sounds make our visceral rhythms loudly present while the power structures of technology and racist colonialism envelop us through a chorus of video clips, shadows, and sketches. “The refusal of time” speaks simultaneously to and about the funk and the intellect, and left me with a gasp and an enduring memory.

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