LUNA

LUNA

Photo Shigeo Anzai

Light Emitting Diode, IC, Electric wire, Aluminum panel, Plastic case.

362 x 180 x 1000 cm

Site specific commissioned work

 
1994
Courtesy Faret Tachikawa

How long has it passed since the humankind started to measure time.

Clepsydra in Japan has a very old history. "Nihon-Shoki," one of the oldest documents in Japan, has the following sentences; 'Clepsydra, a precursor of a tick-tack modern clock was made for the first time. It indicates people time.' That was the 7th century. In many cases, time has been indicated using natural power. Then astronomy came in, with which people have a capability to tell more accurate time. It has been also well known that the moon was an important factor to indicate time.

It was good while people measuring time, but since when time started measuring people?

The first mechanical clock is said to have appeared in Europe at the end of the 13th century. In the middle of the 14th century, a public clock was set up in Padova, Italy. Subsequently, in the 15th century, mechanical clocks became widely used in Europe, and that was when the world standard time was adopted. The values of labour and production were said to be measured in terms of time from that time. At present, clocks are all around us as if we're under their surveillance.

Miyajima worked on "Luna" with time as its theme.

The clock he made indicates 144 inconsistent times. It is digital, ticking from 1 to 9, returning to 1 and repeating all over again. There is no number "0". Some numerals count very fast with a speed of 1/10 second, and another counts extremely slowly like one in an hour.

In 1884, the prime meridian was established at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, U.K., and the world time was conveniently standardized from then on. However, the subsequent development of physics and mathematics proved that time did not exist on its own. I.e. Time interacts with and thus is inseparable from human observation. It depends on individuals how they count 'time'.

His work, Luna, responds to such observers' personal time. This 'time' is defined by people who see and recognize. What he means by 'time' here is a composition of each 'time' tick-tacking in individual's mind. In this sense, this work plays a role as a mirror, reflecting individual's own time. "Luna" means the moon in Latin. The moon is not a fixed star, that shines by itself, but it reflects sunlight.

The work, Luna is exhibited only from the evening through the night. Darkness at night is the most suitable to signify real "time", as people used to think about time by looking at the moon.