Notes/ Cartography of Moments/ Time Archiving
by Negin Ehtesabian 2021
"Suspension" from Notes series for the show " DEVOTION" curated by Roz Dimon 2021
It is an abstract diary project, first called “cartography of moment”
I am recording a piece of time of every day into a hypothetical coding/symbolic language.
The idea is to capture a short time (about an hour) and archive it in a visual form, as an abstract storybook of a daily life to be delivered to a later time.
The discipline of the project is that, I focus on a subject, a passing feeling, something that inspires me at the moment and engages me, either emotionally, physically, or mentally, and while I'm totally focused on it, I draw on a page of the plaid notebook and fill its squares with different symbols, colors, and codes that come to my mind as I feel the presence time.
I let my unconscious take part in the process and try not to intellectually engage with the choices I make. Either aesthetically, or for the composition and color palette.
I try not to plan or think ahead and, I just let it happen at the moment, as it comes naturally as a visual translation of how I feel about the whole idea of presence in the moment. Let it to be a direct note from the moment I experience.
Now that I have done more than 100 pages in the past 6 months, I can observe a pattern in my visual memos. I can see how my mind tends to choose codes of the moment; forms and colors to express herself, and how my hand tends to draw in similar space.
It's interesting how all these similar patterns and limited colors and shapes could be so unique in their own way; and how different the concept could be as a whole, compared to the details. How they relate and influence each other and
could change the meaning of each other.
I want to know if it is possible to capture the time we experience, those moments that we are aware of our existence; I want to know if we could take our feelings' selfies, and if we could be able to read them later too, directly, from subconscious, and if all the process could make us be more aware of our passing time. Like a selfie diary.
I was actually always obsessed with selfie photos and believed they are one of the best time-capture memos materials, if taken honestly; because I believe nothing can reflect our being better than our facial expression and condition; and nothing could tell more about us than a face; the eyes, the look in them, how much the person cares about himself, and when it is our own face, what we remember of that specific time and space that has been captured in that frame, and how much we remember of what we were going through at the time, emotionally, even when we don't remember the story.
Moreover, A selfie represents only a glance in a second of someone's life, but each of these frames can represent a period of time in the concept of a face itself. And all the selfies through time together, would make another bigger collection that can picture a more inclusive concept of that life and make a meaningful story.
So, every moment could be a detail, representing a pixel, that helps to shape the bigger picture. It can be dark or light, but doesn't matter as long as it has a meaningful place and role in the whole concept.
Now that's a question: When we talk about the flow, are we actually talking about those details, those individual pixels, frozen in a second, or we are talking about the quality of the passing details, shaping a whole concept as time experience, like the water passing in a river? Are we talking about the river or the water?
Another question is that, what if we could take a selfie of every moment? Could we communicate its quality with others? How much we could understand the abstract language of others' subconscious, talking about their time experiences,
that is the only thing we ever know as living.
And isn't it all about art, anyway? That connection, that struggle to understand another being, in a coded language that only our mind would understand with immediate abstract knowledge and we struggle to define with human languages?
On the other hand, as Heraclitus theory, says “We look and do not look at the same river; We are, and we are not.” It might be a philosophical theory, but even scientifically, we know that every moment we live, our body and mind are slightly different than before, Every moment, our body organs are a moment older, our cells are in another phase of their lives, each atom is in a slightly different place, moving around, in a different pattern, that is so tiny that only could be observed in digital microscopes, but it is happening. So actually every moment we are in a slightly different quality of our existence.
In the end, this project started with me trying to make a personal visual code language for music pieces and compare them together; Also a project Patrick Lichty was doing with daily Asemic calligraphy to collect the unconscious mind's patterns, inspired me to think of capturing the life moments, the experienced time and feelings.
So, metaphorically, if every moment of life is a music note, we are the composer of everyday music. We are the only ones who could hear our own music too. If we consider every thought we have during the day, as a code and symbol we actually add to our existence time, we would realize how important it is what we think of,
or feel for on a daily basis; what we see or listen to, or experience.
So, this project also led me to an Art therapy idea, that capturing time as a passing quality -that we usually hardly notice in the speed of everyday life- would help people to notice all those pixels that the big picture is being made of; all those notes that make the music, and maybe lead them to realize that, for making a better picture, and more beautiful music, we need to take care of those little details we spend our moments on.