Durham Art Gallery
The Reconfiguration of Similar Elements to a Separate Effect
We are currently in the Anthropocene, which follows the Holocene epoch, Quaternary period, Cenozoic era, and Phanerozoic eon.
The Art Museum presented All This Time, an exhibition at the University of Toronto’s Jackman Humanities Institute, located at 170 St. George Street.
Organized for the Institute’s 2016-17 research theme Time, Rhythm and Pace, the exhibition brings together geologic samples and texts alongside artworks in diverse media by Carl Beam, Eric Cameron, Kelly Jazvac, Faith La Rocque, Micah Lexier, Ken Nicol, and Tamiko Thiel, to consider multiple ways of thinking and representing time.
Since the discovery of deep time, geologists and other Earth scientists have divided time into Eons, Eras, Periods, Epochs and Ages. These fragments, or geochronological units, allow us to conceive of the earth’s 4.6 billion-year-old history. They are, as their names suggests, Earth-sized units of time. Each time unit is defined by a Golden-Spike— a reference point in the rock that is most often caused by an event so great that it has left a mark on the rock record of the earth.
All This Time combines artworks, material artifacts and texts that span multiple timescales. We now move into a new epoch, one without a determined Golden Spike: The Anthropocene. It is the epoch in which humans are the largest effectors of geological change. A collective sigh gathers volume: all this time the scale of our impact on the earth has eluded us.
With this in mind, the exhibition considers the marks and measures that pace the human experience of time, from the minute to the day, from centuries to millenia, and from the languid rhythm of geologic, deep time to a possible future. It asks "how do we account for all this time?"
I gratefully acknowledge the operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council, with additional project support from The Jackman Humanities Institute, the University of Toronto MVS Curatorial Studies Program at the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design, and Manulife Financial.