"People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between the past, the present and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion"
The notion of time governs our every action, our very sentiment of life and death; of existence. Yet how can it be that we base this foundation of our perceived reality on nothing more but a habitual view?
The concept of time emerges as our mind tries to make sense of the world around us which is filled with change. Since our own perception of time and space is bound to a single reference frame, time appears to be constant and absolute to us, however Special Relativity identifies this is an illusion.
Einstein taught that time is relative; that in regions of high velocity or high gravity time actually passes more slowly, relative to regions of lower gravity or lower velocity. This effect of time dilation has been experimentally verified using highly precise caesium or atomic clocks measuring diminutively small periods of time, making it observable that clocks on planes high above the ground, for example, run faster than those on the ground (due to the plane's high speed and distance from a large object of gravity, earth).
Already Immanuel Kant maintained that time and space are properties of perception and thought, imposed on the human mind by nature. In order to make sense of change, we measure by comparison to a standard that we have defined. We use time to measure motion i.e. feet per second or miles per hour. This provides a hint that when dealing with time, we are actually dealing with a standard of motion, for which we have to bear in mind that if the speed of light is constant, time cannot be constant.
If time is not constant, but dilated and warped, what does this mean for our universe's existence, for the creation of and movement within our galaxy, and on a minuscule level, even our existence here on earth? How do we know what change has taken place, if we disregard the crutches of time-motion comparison? Is it important to define change at all?
It appears in fact as if time itself is confined to an infinitesimally narrow point of now which is being encroached upon by our memory of other experienced nows (past) and imaginary nows (future). Therefore, past and future do practically not exist; they are merely traces of memory and creativity.
The Zeitwenden (time-turning) series invites the viewer to an immersion in continuous progress without any aid for the interpretation thereof; in spaces seemingly beyond our paradigms of temporal definition.
Although we are hardly able to visualise or experience a spacetime continuum, we can contemplate the man-made nature of our concept of time, and with it the limits of our perceptive reality. What would we be without them?