I shot solstice over 36 days and nights starting in early June, cutting footage into clips, each representing a 24 hour period, placing them on a page, carefully synching them to show the same time of day over that period. I made it to be a kind of aid to meditation and prayer for the optically anxious in these times of high neurosis.
It is also a contemplation of how we compress, shape, and re-experience time. I recently moved outside of London, from an apartment to what might be called a quintessential English cottage. It is the first time in decades that I have lived anywhere outside of a global mega-city with London and New York being the most recent. Even though we moved near the height of the Covid pandemic, I still did not expect the near silence of the anthropocene to strike me as it did. I found myself lying on my back in the garden fascinated by the movement of the tree branches and song of birds for far longer than I care to admit. But I also knew this couldn’t last. Not the weather, not my own state of mind, nothing about it was repeatable or sustainable. I think it is fully possible and even desirable to live in the moment, as a child does. But I also think it’s human nature to hoard. And solstice is a kind of hoarding of days when the mildness of the air and gentleness of the sun come bursting through.
It is, of course, one of the strange parts of being human that we can take a care-free, timeless moment and turn it into a project involving a precariously perched video camera, innumerable spreadsheet calculations, expensive hard-drive purchases, scripting language tutorials, After Effects wrangling (curse you three hour limit!), and all the coding nightmares that come along with making something for the internet. But it’s equally strange to remain mute when you know that something in you is no longer quite the same.
I look now at these videos playing and I see, in eleven and a half minutes, the summer, caught in that brief slice of time where technically there is no night in latitudes such as these, and I find myself in a state of wonder at the play of clouds and the bend of trees and how you can almost live your whole life without opening an eye to any of it.
Solstice is the first in a three part series of meditations on time that I am releasing. One is a second video series looking at the hollowed out city of London during the first wave of Covid-19, the other is a diary of examining consciousness and the block theory of time. Please keep an eye out for them by subscribing to my announcement list or following me on Twitter or Instagram.
And please, if you have any questions or feedback (or bug reports), either tweet, insta, fb a comment to #solstice or write to me directly using the comments form or write to me at jovi (at) jovijuan.com. And thanks so much for visiting the site.
If you feel so moved, it would be great if you could lend a bit of support to the project. I’m just trying to cover bandwidth costs at this point.
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