Time is an interesting element of life. Everyone has 24 hours a day, but depends on your situation, you feel and experience it at a totally different time speed.
I thought a lot about time during the quarantine. Society seemed to stop or slow down when the pandemic hit. Each day felt dragged out and tried to fill the emptiness at first. However each day my schedule was fluid. I could do whatever I wanted to with no time limitations. With this freedom, I was able to try new things and explore many possibilities.
Now I am in a graduate program, and my daily schedule looks completely different. From morning until night, my schedule revolves around my classes, appointments, meetings, get resources at the library, and teaching Japanese in the breaks between everything. Now more than ever, I realize the importance of time management and the effect it has on one’s future.
Speaking of time, I recently committed to stay and film myself for 12 hours at the riverside. It was for one of the assigned prompt “durational work” for the Choreography Workshop course. I would like everyone to check my video before reading my story at the riverside. –> https://vimeo.com/463212300
The process was almost like therapy to me. My initial idea for this piece was that I commit to being somewhere for 12 hours from sunrise to sunset and I move the exact same way and shoot myself every 30 minutes. The piece is not about me, about the time passing around me. I am part of the narrative.
I woke up at 6:30 am and biked to the riverside. I found the perfect place on my way to Laura’s rehearsal at the Chadwick Arboretum (I will write about her project later. It has been an amazing journey!) Set up the tripod, check the time constantly, and the angle of the camera. Started film when the clock hits 7:30 am. Every 30 minutes, I get up, move, and film. It was very simple. The same simpleness that I had during the quarantine.
In the morning, the sun had not yet and it was cold. The only I could hear was the wave of the water. Everything around me felt as if it were still asleep. I felt all my senses were awakened. I could hear the birds swimming, feel the brisk morning air coming off the river, see the sky brighten up from blue to purple to orange. All the changes I witnessed were beautiful. The higher the sun was up, the more people and birds visited the river, cars, and airplanes passed by, and the bugs flew around. I could tell the town woke up from sleep.
Sitting at the riverside for this long period, I was expected to be exhausting. However, surprisingly, I was not. This 30 minutes check-in was helping me to keep my time tracking and it was a consistent indicator of my time at the river. Some of the 30 minutes slots, I was very productive and able to finished some of my assignments from dance film class, research class, and composition class even though I did not have access to the internet, and some of them I just observed birds. There were ducks, geese, great egrets living at the river. As time passed, they swam super close to me and looked at me like “what is this human doing for so long at our territory?” Especially ducks were friendly and their curiosity and my curiosity seemed matched. Super fun imitating their neck movement and made eye contact.
I finished at 7:30 pm. Overall, I shot 25 clips of me moving for 12 hours. The sun is completely out and just the sound of the crickets echoing at the river. The night wind blew to my face and I was satisfied with the accomplishment of being at the riverside for 12 hours.
I went back home and started editing and I noticed that my labor at the riverside and the final product does not have equal quality. It looked choppy when I put together all the clips. I was disappointed. It was my fault not to study enough of filming to capture the progress of time, but I did not want to shoot in timelapse which I thought ruined my movement. I learned that it is great to do all the options first then choose what is the most appropriate to use in the piece. I could not quite express how much I put my effort to be at the riverside for 12 hours in the film, yet sum up my 12 hours into 2 minutes was meaningful and worthwhile to record as my creative process.
One thought on “Sitting at the riverside -12 hours into 2 minutes-”
I appreciate the story of the day – I can really feel my own senses wake up as I read what you experienced. I think the final product did in many ways reflect the passing of time. I am so very pleased you did this project and explored that kind of commitment to duration and time. How it changes our sense of being, our sense of how we value each moment.