Kiri Leigh Zullo

The square root of time (537 hours in 1 second)

3 second video, looped on broadcast monitor


The square root of time plays on the history of the technical image, using and forcing the temporality of the landscape to fit within these parameters. It consists of a series of single images taken at the same time and location for 24 consecutive days, each as a frame within the one-second clip. The eye cannot differentiate any single day, but instead sees the 24 days as a single moment. 

The piece then shifts to a black screen for 48 frames (2 seconds). The flash of the 24 frames disrupts the black screen and dizzies the viewer as the eye attempts to latch onto a single frame. Instead, the 24 days merge together. If watched closely, a dandelion blooms and wilts in the foreground. The bluffs in the background stay static, while the sky shifts rapidly from day to day. In essence, the 24 frames are a time-lapse of 576 hours. The looping of these three seconds also comments on the temporal presence of the fragment as an image.

Using the CRT monitor to display work that comments on vast time, the video becomes uncomfortable and strange. The flickering of the black frames feels as though the monitor is turning itself on and off, without the aid of the human hand, in order to display this flash of vast time. In this sense, the piece is easily disembodied, operating on its own, and producing its own expanse of time. Instead, in an instantaneous flash, the piece simultaneous asks for active looking and disembodied viewing.  The square root of time showcases images instantaneously, to create one image, and displays in an instant that our time does not operate in the landscape’s deep time, but it does ask of the viewer to slow their looking, to observe the toggling on and off of the screen, and to realise that without human movement, vast time and space continues with force.

Time becomes the material of the work, where each of the 24 days are brushstrokes, the canvas is the single second of film, and the landscape displayed is the pictorial representation.