Time Needed To Buy A New Watch

Initial experimentation with footage.

Full film as a starting point for further development:

Each second of this film represents one day of income for 57% of the population of Haiti.

Therefore, the overall length of this piece is representational to the amount of days needed to buy a second-hand wrist watch.

“The perception of an arrow of time that we have in our everyday life therefore appears to be nothing more than an illusion of consciousness in this model of the universe, an emergent quality that we happen to experience due to our particular kind of existence at this particular point in the evolution of the universe.”

(Avelve, 2018)

Further considerations for quality improvements and refinements regarding visualisation of quantitative data:

  • dirty hand (manual labour) vs delicate hand (office work)
  • young hand vs aged skin – discrepancies in income of different age groups
  • juxtaposition of average cost vs time needed to buy good in the West and in Haiti
  • consideration of other luxury goods, such as cars, TV sets, mobile phones
  • inclusion of everyday items like food, hygiene products
  • life expectancy/ retirement age
  • family size
  • differences in earnings between genres
  • pay in the capital vs the provinces

I AM CERTAIN I AM UNCERTAIN

“Some texts are going to be reinforced, some will lose a lot compared with my original intentions, but I think that is okay. I’m just going to let that happen, however it happens. They’re out of context, so they become a whole new kind of experience … I am using these otherwise finished texts as raw material for a whole other idea … I am not as emotionally involved with the individual pieces as I would be if I were trying to re-install each one. I’m using this stuff in a kind of abstract way, or pretending it is abstract and allowing almost random associations to appear.”

(Nauman, 2018 )

Bruce Nauman, ‘Good Boy Bad Boy’ 1985

Bruce Nauman
Good Boy Bad Boy 1985

Map of certainties and uncertainties.

Final film maquette with both voices mixing together.

The concept for this experiment was inspired by the work of Bruce Nauman, especially…

The simultaneous juxtaposition of a map of certainties and uncertainties creates an atmosphere of confusion.  I have purposefully chosen a young person, who represents a different generation to my own to reinforce the legacy of uncertainty that we leave in our wake.  I am plagued by uncertainty in response to the current turbulence and the pace of change.  The younger generation are ill equipped to understand and comprehend the uncertainties they are presented with.  Their inability to embrace change causes anxiety, distress and mental health issues.

“We live with an epidemic of anxiety. In 1980, 4% of Americans suffered a mental disorder associated with anxiety. Today half do. The trends in Britain are similar. A third of Britons will experience anxiety disorder at some stage in their life, with an explosion of reported anxiety among teenagers and young adults. Anxiety, depression, self-harm, attention deficit disorder and profound eating problems afflict our young as never before.”

(Hutton, 2016)

Younger people isolate themselves are immersed in the artificial online world, which lacks physicality of experience and reality of existence and human contact.

The more self-contained you are, the more lonely you can become and inadvertently find yourself with no one.

Visualising Uncertainty

Antonio Machado:

“Wanderer, your footsteps are

the path and nothing else;

wanderer, there is no path,

The path is made by walking”

(Alonso, 1980)

There are certain benefits of uncertainty.  Perhaps one the most significant advantages is “chance”.

Our obsession with uncertainty about the future can be visualised in terms of probabilities.  These are very difficult to communicate effectively outside the time typical infographics, including graphs, charts and diagrams.  The impact of Hi-Tec and interactive methods of visualisation offers totally new opportunities and can be of  substantial help here.  However, communicating deeper uncertainties remains problematic due to incomplete or disrupted knowledge and other external factors, which may affect our perception of the nature of what we are unsure of. Are we purely entertaining the feeling of being unsure?

Confidence is frequently perceived as a sign of arrogance?

This thought has led me to exploring the importance of chance and probability in the context of my response to what I feel is certain and what is not.

Contexts of certainty and uncertainty

The alphabet of certainty and uncertainty.

The map of certainty and uncertainty.

certain and uncertain money

By chance, things have suddenly become much more uncertain:

How do I measure chance in all those contexts?

Unfortunately, Haiti was struck by another earthquake today.  All of my friends there have been affected.

What does poverty mean in the context of sustaining life?

How do I communicate the extent of uncertainties exaggerated by this natural disaster?

You Can Never Be Sure of Everything!

Making Certainty Uncertain and Unpredictability Definitive

 

“Uncertainty about what?

While the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle (HUP) does not mean “there are some things you can never be sure of”, it does imply “you can never be sure of everything.” How can this be? If you can never be sure of everything, doesn’t that mean there are some things you can never be sure of? Surprisingly, no.” 

(Wiseman, 2012)

Fundamental certainties of the past have become the greatest uncertainties of the future. The most significant uncertainties of the past have evolved to become almost certain today and definitive tomorrow.

In reflection to my experiences in Haiti, I am experimenting with removing my certainties from the certainly uncertain world there!  Through these image manipulations, I am questioning what is uncertain?  Can the removal of certainty create anxiety of unpredictability?

My certainties are their uncertainties!  I am certain of having a meal and they are never sure of what will happen; what to expect – moment after moment, day after day, year after year.

The world of certainties is totally denied to some unfortunate people, both physically, emotionally and in the sphere of dreams, aspirations and ambitions.  Their focus of poverty is completely different, placed on survival rather than luxuries and unnecessary commodities.  This is in contrast to the superficial and trivial obsessions of the “Western World”!

I am watching their uncertain world through the “removed” certainty on my afternoon beer.

incertain beer

I am staring with uncertainty at the certainty of my luxury meal.  The table is set up and ready, but the food has been removed.  What is on my plate, in the bowl?  How am I going to satisfy my hunger for security and thirst for predictability?

uncertain meal2
uncertain holiday

Everett argues that we live in a Universe of multiple space-times and each spacetime is governed by Lorenz contraction of time (Barrett, 2011). Therefore time is perhaps the key factor, which forms our perception of certainty and uncertainty.  Both feelings belong to parallel yet distinctly different worlds: prosperity and poverty; the arrogance of confidence and hesitant insecurity.

Heisenberg implies that uncertainty is often a result of a measurement (Wiseman, 2012). The act of measuring an object’s position changes its speed or vice versa. Perhaps the real origin is much deeper.  The uncertainty principle exists, because everything in the Universe behaves as a particle and a wave at the same time.  In quantum mechanics, the exact position and speed of an object have no meaning.

To explore this idea further and visualise this concept, I need to experiment with images by manipulating them into “behaving” simultaneously like a particle and a wave.  Particles exist in a single place at any instance in time and waves are disturbances spread out in space.