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Time is measurable in science. Sixty seconds make up a minute and twenty-four hours make up a day. But in human experience, time fluctuates, flips, jumps and takes on varying slopes according to our perception of events.
In order to store information effectively, the brain cuts time into segments. These segments are like many small boxes storing our past. But exactly where and how the brain divides these segments of time depends on our perception of the associated events.
Not long ago, I had an amazing experience with time watching a live performance. The evening-length show comprised many small, fragmented stories drawing from a common social background. The performance conveyed fine attention to detail, and humorous moments arose here and there. However, I struggled to find a “point” (a weight, a through-line or a purpose) to the show, and I started to feel frustrated. The performance seemed to drag on. But about three-quarters of the way in, the “point” began to emerge, and as an audience member, I felt that I had discovered the answer. I looked back on the previous moments of the performance and had the sudden sensation that each of these moments was a block in a color board flipping from one color to another. In retrospect, the performance no longer felt overly lengthy—each moment felt precious and indispensable to the full array of moments. My perception of the show changed, and so did my experience of time.
Joyce Liao is a dance-based artist currently living in Seattle. She is interested in exploring the relationship between dance, movement, text, sound, music, rhythms, emotions, sensations and stories. She practices dance and choreographs solo pieces at home and in various spaces, and considers this practice to be the foundation of her art form. Joyce is proud to be a 2013 Flower Season Artist-in-Residence at Studio Current. She will be showing a short dance film at Velocity’s THE BRIDGE PROJECT 2013.