Temporality – Cynthia Penter

 Temporality: Spirit of the World

An exhibition of film and video loops and photographs exploring women, the elements, and time.

By Cynthia PenterBrandt Gallery, Tremont

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Temporality is a term often used in philosophy in talking about the way time is. The traditional mode of temporality is a linear procession of past, present, future. Some 20th century philosophers have made various interpretations of temporality in ways other than this linear manner; for example, the present moment emerging only from where our projected future is curled back into a past.

From Miriam Webster


1 a: of or relating to time as opposed to eternity b: of or relating to earthly life 

2: of or relating to grammatical tense or a distinction of time

3 a: of or relating to time as distinguished from space b: of or relating to the sequence of time or to a particular time

From the Oxford


noun (pl. temporalities) the state of existing within or having some relationship with time; bounded in time. 1. The spirit of ‘the world’ (as opposed to a religious spirit); secularism; addiction to temporal or mundane interests.

For the past several years I have been experimenting with film and video loops as a way of creating moving photographic records. I will take a short sequence from a longer piece and affect its original time frame by compressing and extending time as if it were a rubber band that I can pull and release. In this way I can enhance movement and gesture, and in creating a continuous loop of the resulting material I can attempt to capture in time, in essence, encapsulate the image as a memory or object depicting memory. Sometimes I will exhibit the resulting loop as a life scale projection in order to allow the audience easier entry into the image.

In this exhibit I was thinking of these moving images as creating a sort of museum honoring the temporality of the earth itself as embodied in the motif of women and the elements. In my portraits the women become these creatures. They are part of the landscape into which I have placed them. The women, the elements, and time become bound together as one, become the temporal.

I was also thinking of these pieces in an ecological sense. As our earth experiences changes, we are in danger of losing our connection to this temporality. I am seeking a way to represent our human essence as part of nature, to be one with nature, acknowledging our interconnectivity. More than merely romantic portrayals, these pieces come from a daoist outlook. For me what we are is nature, and nature has a presence or spirit as real as ourselves.