»Time is something that scares me … or used to. This piece I made with the two clocks was the scariest thing I have ever done. I wanted to face it. I wanted those two clocks right in front of me, ticking.«
Felix González-Torres, 1991
12 Months — A Year is a durational film project by ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS made as part of the online festival It’s About Time.
Starting in November 2021, Aslan and Gylee will create and release a five-minute film every month for one year. Each monthly chapter will be released on the final day of the month and will add to the previous films, accumulating in real-time. The full 60-minute work will be completed and released on 31st October 2022.
12 Months — A Year is inspired by durational artforms including the soap opera, the serialisation of the novel in the 19th century, films that stretch and compress time (»Empire«, »24-Hour Psycho«, »The Clock«, »Boyhood«), and the inevitably diverging clocks of González-Torres’s sculpture »Untitled (Perfect Lovers)«.
Simple questions with formidable answers: We ask who we are now, who we will be a year from now, and what the nature may be of the trajectory between these two points in time.
»This was fiction and yet no one knew where the story was headed because time was its unpredictable collaborator.«
Kate Kellaway, interview with Richard Linklater & Ellar Coltrane, 2014
ONCE WE WERE ISLANDS work in the fertile ground between disciplines, combining visual art, performance, choreographic methodologies, and research. The two performers, originally from Manchester and London, employ (auto)biographical narrative as well as meticulous research on the realities of Queer lives in their poetic works.
»When was that? When did I stop getting old? Time passes by me like the wind. Maybe the cord that bound me to time broke when I lost my words.«
Yoko Tawada, »Scattered All Over The Earth«, 2018
»I believe in an alchemy of time … I believe we can make time … Does naming time generate time? Rehearsal is a great name for time, solitude another. Clock into darkness. Clock into leave. Falling, a time. What if we all agreed to live a year on moon time shunning the sun … The most crucial and most queer thing I can say is that these thoughts are all about that which is unseen in time. All that exists and goes unnamed, uncounted, disregarded. In a queer life you use and re-use shards of time, search out references, create your own constellation and pull small threads forward. You dig and discover all that was, in its time, against the continuity of its time.«
Every Ocean Hughes FKA Emily Roysdon, »Uncounted«, 2012-2015
»You know, I’ve got a funny feeling // I’ve seen this all before. // Why? // Cause I’m a caveman. // Why? // Cause I’ve got eyes in the back of my head. // Why? // It’s the heat. // Standby. // This is the time. // And this is the record of the time.«
Laurie Anderson, »From the Air«, 1982
»The threads of time have their knots and tangles, and every so often there is a symmetry, every once in a while something repeats, as if refrains and motifs were controlling them, a troubling thing to notice. Such order tends to overburden the mind, which cannot know how to respond. Chaos has always seemed more familiar and safe, like the disarray in your own drawer«
Olga Tokarczuk, »The Books of Jacob«, 2014
»The way one does research into nonexistent history is to tell the story and find out what happened. I believe this isn’t very different from what historians of the so-called real world do. Even if we are present at some historic event, do we comprehend it — can we even remember it — until we can tell it as a story? And for events in times or places outside our own experience, we have nothing to go on but the stories other people tell us. Past events exist, after all, only in memory, which is a form of imagination. The event is real now, but once it’s then, its continuing reality is entirely up to us, dependent on our energy and honesty. If we let it drop from memory, only imagination can restore the least glimmer of it. If we lie about the past, forcing it to tell a story we want it to tell, to mean what we want it to mean, it loses its reality, becomes a fake.«
Ursula K. Le Guin, »Tales from Earthsea«, 2015
»Something changed in the world. Not too long ago, it changed, and we know it. We don’t know how to explain it yet, but I think we all can feel it somewhere deep in our gut or in our brain circuits. We feel time differently. No one has quite been able to capture what it happening or say why. Perhaps it’s just that we sense an absence of future, because the present has become too overwhelming, so the future has become unimaginable. And without future, time feels only like an accumulation. An accumulation of months, days, natural disasters, television series, terrorist attacks, divorces, mass migrations, birthdays, photographs, sunrises … We haven’t understood how space and time exist now, how we really experience them.«
Valeria Luiselli, »Lost Children Archive«, 2019
As part of the online durational festival »It’s about time«. »It’s about time« is a Ballhaus Ost production. Funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds.