Embodied Time: Chronotope Formations in Works by Julius von Bismarck, Yayoi Kusama, Olafur Eliasson, and Walter de Maria

in Architecture and Control

An artistic chronotope encompasses the close interconnectedness between space and time. The notion of the chronotope was developed by Russian literary scholar Mikhail Bakhtin in his 1937 study of the development of the novel. The chronotope unifies spatial and temporal markers in a way that allows time to become tangible and material. Despite potentially offering valuable insights into the applied space-time connection beyond the narrated events of novels, the chronotope has been surprisingly seldom used in analyses of spatial constructs and artworks. This chapter is a chronotopical analysis of four artworks to reveal the effect of place on the experience of time. The study demonstrates the degree of influence and even control that place exerts over time. The chosen examples by Julius von Bismarck, Yayoi Kusama, Olafur Eliasson, and Walter de Maria can be said to suspend linear time as a result of their varying degrees of interaction with a particular place. Depending on how concretely the artwork and artist engage with a given place, time can be localised and become embodied and concrete itself. The experience of time could then become an important aspect of the spatial design process. Time can be controlled as it responds to a place that is rich and concrete in meaning, whereas it passes abstract and interchangeable places without engaging.

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