Running Time Tatsuo Miyajima

Miyajima9 digital time

"Miyajima's 'Running 7ime' creates a choreography of chance within the perfect cube of the Queen's House, a silent end sublime picture of time." This installation is the result of yet another collaboration between Artangle and Becks Beers. In lndigo Jones's best surviving building set in the urbane surroundings of Le Notres' park and Wren's naval college, Greenwich Meantime as we know it was for a brief spell under threat. Out of the darkness (akari) of the winter evening lurked the automata, the alien culture of karakuri, the Japanese tradition of machines and robotics. Forty five electric toy cars randomly roamed the floor of the darkened Great Hall. The battery driven vehicles kept changing their direction and speed. Each displayed its own digital time on luminous LED (light emitting diode) counters, alike but pulsing differently. Charging and discharging like fireflies at the river's edge, the digital vehicles wove a glowing silk kimono like pattern through the inky blackness.

The visual display was stunning, but not quite sufficient to abandon disbelief in the claims which accompanied it. The changing web of chance events alluded, we were told, to the time zones of extra terrestrial travel. As soon as chance is mentioned any conceptual artist worth his salt will reach for the (almost certainly unread) Heisenberg for uncertainty and Einstein for relativity. With their sacred names onboard, "Running Time" turns out to be a model of the cosmos or a microcosm of atoms, pick 'n' mix.  Are these connections post- creative anecdotes or do they determine the work?  Creative enquiry or an overdose of artistic licence? Re-entering the surreal outside world on an empty and driverless Docklands Light Railway train, passing the automatic beacon on Canary Wharf silently flashing to aircraft on auto-pilot in the city's. night sky, one is able to identify with the artist's interpretation of our communication-based times. Was "Running Time" a metaphor for earthly mortals gliding like lost souls in isolated containers across alien space? According to Miyajima, the theme behind this ballet of supercharged cannisters is paradoxically and perhaps reassuringly that "Art is Nature."

East begins at Greenwich Tatsuo Miyajima: Running Time Queens House. Greenwich, February 1995 Art & Architecture Journal No 42 


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