The Sands of Time - Democracy vs Oligarchy
The Sands of Time
Medium: Hourglass, plexiglass, sand, laser inscription engraved on both sides., “Democracy - Oligarchy”
Video: running time 10 minutes, loop.
“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
The work,The Sands of Time, makes direct reference to the historical symbolism and metaphorical meanings given to the hourglass in late renaissance art of the 16th and 17th centuries. The hourglass is an antiquated timing instrument often depicted in Flemish Vanitas still life paintings as a memento mori, contrasting symbols of wealth along with skulls and other symbols of ephemerality and death.
The symbolism of the hourglass as a timekeeper survived through time and still today denotes the transience of life, and the futility of our human existence. Nowadays a small symbol of an hourglass appears on our computer screens when a program is in the middle of a task and is thinking about doing something. When such an hourglass does not disappear, it suggests a program is in an infinite loop, it will continue endlessly, and needs to be terminated, unless an external intervention occurs.
The hourglass can also invert over and over again which symbolizes the cyclic nature of life and death. In the artwork the engraved inscriptions of the words Democracy / Oligarchy on the upper and lower part of the glass surface, can be seen as an interplay of the two opposites that it is never at a standstill; they to follow the shift of the sand down to the last grain and can change their position of power up or down as the hourglass turns over again. The title of the work “The Sands of Time “ is an english idiom relating the passage of time to the sand in the hourglass and serves as a reminder that time is fleeting; and there will be little opportunity to do what we have to do unless we take the chance now.