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Triennale Art
& Dunkerque
Triennale Art & Industrie Dunkerque Hauts–de–France

Beating time

The 1973 oil shock put an end to three decades of plenty, leading many countries to take measures to save energy.

Daylight Savings Time, implemented in 1976, is one such measure we have inherited. Agathe Berthaux Weil performs its origin story and presents mnemonic devices that can help us remember which way to turn the clock hands.

The consequences of the oil crisis on how time is measured led some artists, like Hanne Darboven, Robert Filliou, Véronique Joumard and Roger Ackling, to oppose temporal pressure by exploring biological, meditative and cosmic ties to energy and considering the rhythms of life as determined by the movement of the stars.

By developing a more serene relationship with time, in opposition to the speed of production and finance, these artists underscore the importance of daily life and paying the ordinary its due. They count the moments as they pass or dilate time for creation by using the long-term as their yardstick. For example, in Finland, Agnes Denes set out to reforest an area to combat rapid deforestation, and more recently, Éric Baudelaire has made tangible the drastic variations in stock market values and greenhouse gas emissions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This chapter can be seen at the Frac Grand Large — Hauts-de-France.