Jens Kull, Vergangene Gegenwart (2006): A Small Moment of the Past

Six sockets, each with a LCD-Screen and a camera on top and arranged in a hexagon, facing inwards. The spectator, upon entering the circle can see himself – from behind. And you may try as much as you want, if you look into one of the screens, you will already have turned away.

Black Holes, in Einsteins theory of relativity, are reputed to bend light to the extent that being inside, you’d see yourself from behind. With Jens Kull, it’s not only light which is bent, but time as well. Because you only see yourself from behind, you literally see yourself already walking away. „Vergangene Gegenwart“ (2006) illustrates a moment from the past.

What happens in any given moment? How do we perceive what has happened? And to what extent can we take influence on our past? This piece confronts us with two basic uncertainties of daily life: one, we can never see ourselves walking away. Two, we cannot change the past nor can we look into the past. And nevertheless, every moment that we experience in the present is past already.

The spanish translation of the title (Presente Imperfecto) provided by Jens Kull title, then, adds an interesting level to the German version: „presente imperfecto“ means for one the present already gone by. But in addition, it takes on an imperfect present, a present which is never quite complete as any moment goes by instantly and becomes part of the past. Jens Kull’s piece is thus an installation which demonstrates the futility of the present.

Vergangene Gegenawart (2006)
Vergangene Gegenwart (2006)

Image courtesy of Jens Kull. All rights reserved.

>> Read Art Critic Jeannette Betancourt’s review on „Vergangene Gegenwart“

>> Read review on „Why Me, Why Here, Why Now, Why Not“ by Jens Kull

>> Read review on „Untitled 2008“ by Jens Kull

>> Visit Jens Kull’s website here

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