How long does a sunrise last
Besides indifference, the spiral drawing sunrise exercise also has other effects, puts other things into relief. Obviously, it plays with time. As I mentioned, the robot car started out really quite slowly, with long pauses between small movements. Eventually it speeds up, needing less time to charge its capacitor and driving further faster. It occurs to me: I never thought of a sunrise in this way. A movement from the ‘slower’ light of a low sun to the the ‘faster’ light of a higher one. Could we think of this ‘speeding up’ effect as the signature of a sunrise? I am not sure, but this is the effect that the spiral drawing captures: a movement from tick dots closer together on the outer rings to thinner dots wider apart in the inner circles. (It also means that the drawing has a clear “less is more” effect that I associate with abstraction: as the car speeds up the number of sand dots that are recorded on the sheets of paper decreases. And the fewer dots there are on the paper, the more pronounced the ‘sunrise’ effect it makes visible.) Funnily, though, while the pattern of the spiral drawing stands our more and more clearly, we seem to know less and less about what exactly is a sunrise. When does it start: When it starts getting light, when it peeks out over the buildings? When does it end? However, it is not as if we are constantly talking or thinking about the sun. Indeed, the drawing exercise also seems to produce temporal effects that have little to do with it. You could say, for instance that it works as a device for experiencing the morning from the standpoint of this specific place, the Frederiksplein. It exposes the temporality of the location. So, during this morning we do quite a bit of waiting, of sitting around, and as we sit watching, in a way we adopt the standpoint of this corner of the Frederiksplein. Somehow, the movement of this robot car going its snail-like way amplifies the movements in the square, the changes it is going through: trams passing, traffic picking up, and so on. The movement of light, sound, traffic – a slow (Dutch?) version of the Japanse film on urban flow, Koyaanisqatsi. The spiral device making its circles highights the trajectories of all these other entities passing through. Cyclists driving by, narcisses opening up, trams dingeling past, women with dogs. It turns them into trajectories, and the square a space that unfolds through them. And perhaps these trajectories also ‘accentuate’ the solar path, becoming so many versions of it. And several of these entities go slow, but none as slow as the sun.