How can art and design recover the sense of time that was stolen from us by shallow words and make us excited again?
Childhood appears to stretch endlessly in our memories, fueled by the constant novelty that once surrounded us. On the other hand, adulthood often rushes by, driven by the clarity that definitions bring to our surroundings. In this context, one may wonder how the realms of art and design can rekindle the elusive essence of time, a dimension seemingly robbed by superficial words, and thus reignite the sparks of excitement within us. In other words, how can art and design recover the sense of time that was stolen from us by shallow words and make us excited again?
Specific definitions and expectations can constrict roles even before the light of consciousness dawns with uncertainty. Societal definitions and expectations can start imposing limitations on individuals' roles and actions before they begin to question or doubt those definitions and expectations. Ghina Kanawati, a Beirut-based architect observes that as girls enter the stage of puberty, they often encounter societal expectations that prompt them to embrace adulthood prematurely.
“This can manifest in their adoption of makeup and heels,” said Kanawati, “as well as a shift away from playful activities, which they may perceive as belonging to their younger days. Similarly, boys also experience a transformation in their roles, with diminished freedom for leisure and a growing emphasis on preparing for an uncertain future. This preparation may involve a heightened focus on academic pursuits or, in more disadvantaged communities, an early entry into the workforce to support their families.”
But when societal constructs strike, art and design strike back –as an act of resistance– to melt established words and hint parts of our lost souls, to remind us of what was once stolen from us and reignite the sparks of anticipation.
Within the relentless cadence of adulthood, the elusive nature of time becomes manifest, as if slipping through the fissures of our grasp like fine sand. Days amalgamate into a continuous blur, the rhythm of life assumes a monotonous march, and our existence appears as a succession of obligations and chores. In this continuum, the magic and novelty that adorned our childhood, rendering it infinite in scope and brimming with enchantment, are often relinquished. Yet, amidst life's complexities and definitions, lies a potent elixir to resurrect our latent perception of time—a reconnection with the marvels of existence through the transformative medium of art and design.
Conversely, childhood is a distinctive epoch. Its seemingly boundless duration emanates from the ceaseless novelty and astonishment that accompany each passing moment. In the world of children, every encounter becomes a new revelation, and every day unfolds with exhilarating discoveries. Immersed in a realm of unfettered imagination, the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur into obscurity, and limitless possibilities come to fruition. Can this remarkable sense of temporal extension be reclaimed amid the throes of adulthood? The solution lies within the realm of art and design.
"Time, the most precious and unfathomable dimension of our lives, presents us with an existential mystery," said Ajla Selenic, an architect and artist based in Finland. "Art and creativity offers the opportunity to integrate our existential essence into space, time, and beyond."
Selenic –through her artwork– presents time in a more literal and macroscale manner. In her creative exploration of the ontology of space, which intertwines the fields of architecture, design, art, and philosophy, she has immersed herself in an intuitive creative process in search of meaning. Her experimental artistic research has led her to profound revelations about the significance of creative work as a philosophical and spiritual inquiry into the fundamental questions of space and time, ultimately aiming to connect with immaterial values and a sense of timelessness.
"Resisting the demands of our contemporary world, which often seeks immediate and pragmatic answers, I believe that focusing on discovering an inner sense of time within our souls and a deep sense of integrity and purpose can lead us towards greater awareness and contemplation," Selenic remarked.
Art, in its profound splendor, possesses the uncanny ability to decelerate time. Immersing ourselves in a painting or sculpture, we are transported to an alternate dimension where time assumes an altogether different character. Within the intricate brushstrokes of a masterpiece, the ceaseless hurry of daily life recedes into insignificance, and we are enveloped by the moment.
Art beckons us to explore reality through a kaleidoscope of diverse perspectives and emotions, akin to our childhood days when the world was an enigmatic playground waiting to be explored. It is in these moments that art redeems the stolen essence of time, bestowing upon us the capacity to embrace novelty with the vigor of youth and –perhaps– enter a phase of timeless flow. Design, too, performs an integral role in our pursuit of temporal renaissance. Beyond its functional utility, exceptional design constitutes an art form in its own right.
"As an architect," said Nagoya-based Ei Mon Thaw from Myanmar, "I perceive time as the fourth dimension of space. In well-designed architecture, time plays an integral role in shaping our experiences within. It is evident in structures that seamlessly merge with their surroundings. People appreciate the passage of time in these spaces, influenced by natural light, shadows, and environmental changes."
"These designs offer a display for our evolving perception of time, allowing us to connect with the temporal rhythm of life," Ei Mon Thaw added.
In the realm of design, meticulous attention to detail and the relentless pursuit of excellence reign supreme. When we incorporate ourselves with artful creations and thoughtfully designed spaces, we usher a sense of timelessness into our lives.
Within a world where time ceaselessly rushes onward, it becomes imperative to uncover avenues that facilitate temporal respite and rekindle the lost enchantment once bestowed by childhood. Art, design, and architecture, offer the means to accomplish this, enabling us to rediscover the enchantment and marvel that life unfailingly offers. By engaging with art and embracing the ethos of thoughtful design, we bridge the seemingly insurmountable chasm between the attacks of adulthood and the boundless amazement of childhood.