MAKING TIME: Lawrence Rinder

The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the symposium MAKING TIME: Art Across Gallery, Screen, and Stage taking place from April 19-21, 2012. Participants have been invited to respond to the prompt “what does the phrase ‘time-based art’ mean to you?” in advance of the event. This posting is by Lawrence Rinder, Director of the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive.

Photo by Ben Blackwell
To me, time-based art could be anything that is art and takes time. Time-based art could include video, film, performance, net art, etc. These are a diverse array of practices and I’m not sure that they have anything particularly meaningful in common. Time itself is not a clear differentiator since even static works take time to view. So time as part of any art experience is inescapable. Works that require specific amounts of time may create logistical issues for presenters and sometimes for audiences, especially those not accustomed to incorporating specific duration in their viewing experience. However, I’m not sure that the fact that a work requires a specific amount of time to view necessarily differentiates it aesthetically from one that does not, though in some cases (i.e. John Cage’s 4’33”) specific duration is the very point of the work and, arguably, contributes importantly to the aesthetic experience.