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Hello, I'm Alexander Rose, the Executive Director at The Long Now Foundation. A long time ago, actually not that long ago now I guess but one of our fellows Stuart Candy proposed this idea who is here today with us. Where is Stuart? There is Stuart proposed this idea of doing what he called long shorts. So short movies about cool long-term projects that kind of get the idea across. And a few months ago, two Austrian guys, I'd never heard of sent some photographs into the Rosetta Project actually I think through Laura Welcher, a project that they did in Hawaii and it was by far one of the coolest Long Now inspired projects I had seen. And so I asked them to make the first of long shorts and so we're going to try and show them before some of these talks. This is a 5-minute video, it's by White Elephant Studios. Tobias Kestel & Florian Puschmann and Tobias is here tonight and I'll start the video. And he came out all the way from Australia for that little applause, thank you, Austria, sorry. So I'm going to start the video and then Stuart will introduce Arthur Ganson and enjoy your evening. That reminds me of going to the movies when I was young, there was always a short subject before the main feature. Next weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ll have cartoons and newsreels redo the whole thing. Imagine, how pleased archeologists of the future will be when there is date stamps on the various stratographic layers. The Long Now clock, the 10,000 year clock weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re building in one mountain and then another mountain is a work of kinetic art and as such now only weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re paying attention to horologist people have been designing clocks for a long time but to a lot of other artists who work with mechanical things. You can see one on the right hand side of the stage. Arthur Ganson has been that at for the 30 years. He is very, very adept not only to the things work well and present well, they inspire thoughts well. So he is here to tell us about it tonight. Arthur Ganson? Hello. All right, thank you very much. It's really a pleasure to be here. And its always a little daunting to come up on to a stage and talk about the work because really I make this work because I'm most comfortable like isolating myself in my studio and if you can imagine I'm sure there are lot of people in the audience who are like that and you know what that is to be in your solitary space and to work. So, it's a little strange to take some of the thoughts and to translate them into words, but I'm going to do my best and I'll see if I can make some sense out of things. Thank you Stuart for inviting me. I really appreciate it. Thank you Alexander and everybody else in the foundation who has been so wonderful and helping to set this up. I really appreciate it. What I'm going to do is I'm going to give you a sense of how I work. I'm going to talk about many different pieces. I'm going to see if I can thread this idea of time through the work. Time is always a critical component for me and sometimes I think about time in a very conscious way where time itself becomes part of the subject of the piece and sometimes I don't at all where time is just naturally behind the scenes. We decided to call the talk machines in the breath of time and I've been thinking a lot about what that means and what it could mean and I think the most important way for me to think about that is that just as we breathe and I've been doing yoga lately and I've learned that in my practice my breath is the continuity through everything else. Its basically the underlying force of continuity if I can always come to the breath and the breath is essential and the breath is always bringing me back to the present moment. I think the time itself is like a breath for these machines because they can exist without the passage of time, they can exist as physical objects but really when I came to make sculpture without really thinking about it, I found myself creating pieces that moved and I think for some reason I was just not interested in really just the physical object itself but in the object as it is in the state of becoming, as its changing. So this notion of breath and time is always there in the background and I'll talk about it in different ways. A few things I want to say about the work and about understanding the work is that I'll give you some of my thoughts about it but I have a very strong feeling that in order for the piece to have any true meaning for anyone, they create the meaning. So if you feel a connection with anything, it's not really in the piece but it's really in you and it's all about your own experience that what you're bringing to it and it's inseparable. So I think a lot about the fact that these machines come from a place deep within myself and they I kind of wrestle them into being, into physicality, they start in a very not physical way and they start as an idea, they start as a feeling, they start as a question and there is always a real like wrestling, I think wrestling is a good word of like how to bring this into some sort of a physical manifestation and then its here like this thinking chairs here as a physical thing but you're observing it and all of your thoughts about it, everything you feel about it is true, its irrelevant what I feel about it at that point. And if we talk about this feeling of the long now which I love thinking about this concept, I think the machine start in an eternal place and then there in a physical place which is just really temporary and its only matter of time before these will break but I have this feeling that where they are when they are perceived and they are taken into someone's consciousness to their spirit or to their heart, then that feels like its an eternal place and that's really a way of thinking about the long now for me. So, when you leave here, forget everything that I say because really any words that I have about them are kind of irrelevant and the most important thing would be your direct experience of it. So I want to talk a little bit about this thinking chair piece because I wanted to bring this physical object. The thinking chair occurred to me there is a place near my studio in the woods that I find myself going to and walking. And I've done this for many years where I'll just go to a particular rock outcropping and I find myself walking in circles on this particular rock outcropping. It's a very meditative thing to do and then I found out that that is actually many traditions that use walking in circles as a form of meditation. But I was doing this naturally and one day I found a stone that was sort of on the side of this rock outcropping and I just had the thought that I wanted to make this self portrait, this thinking chair and I think actually the title is not very good. I think I'm going to change the title at some point if you can do that after the fact because really its not so much of thinking chair but more kind of being a chair, that's what I feel or a feeling chair. So, the chair is going to on the side and it's going to be walking in circles and it will be and kind of like a clock for this talk, kind of like a mantra, a circular mantra for this experience. So I'm going to take you back to how I started to make these machines and I'll take you first back away before I made any machines and I had the impulse to want to make moving things, the first thing that I did when I was probably in like 5th or 6th grade was I made animated movies and I would draw them on the edge of books and I have one of them here. Now, we just discovered that the screen is not showing part of the bottom and part of the right, so I hope that you can actually see the movie but this is a little animation that I called the great race. And I remember drawing this, I remember that what was in my mind in that moment was that there were these two cars that were going to run down the road and they was a boulder in the road and all I wanted to do was I wanted to imagine how the cars once they hit the boulder would begin to flip over and turn over and how the drivers in the cars would be flown out of the cars and there is a lot violence of course because when you're a kid youÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re totally into violence. So I'm going to play this, lets just see how this goes. I hope you can see it. So then there is the rock and I remember drawing this, I remember clearly, you see there is a lot of. Now here is more gratuitous violence, so it's like an ambulance coming, crazy. So when I first started to make, oh! Boy we're losing now you can imagine Madeline's fragile machine. When I first started to make physical objects, it was in late high school and I have to say I was drawn to work with my hands because I was so painfully shy that I was not able to really talk to people, I could talk a little bit but really about what I was feeling in my heart, I was terrified of sharing what I was feeling. And I found that a way that I could compensate or get around or to express myself is that I would make things for my friends and for people I cared about and when I think back on it now, it was all I could do to tell people that I love them by making things. So I'm telling you this because its sort of the umbrella under which all of this work exists because it was the foundational impulse for me to start to make anything and its always there, its always in the background of wanting to express really what's in my heart. And just very briefly its kind of odd that I came to make machines because in high school, I was in love with two subjects biology because I had a wonderful biology teacher Mr. Mr. D'Aglio, who changed my life in ways that I'm just now discovering. And also I spent my senior year in high school programming computers. I was completely obsessed with programming basic. And I just like wrote computer programs all day long, totally obsessed with it. So there is a part of me that loves that wonderful sort of logical flow of programming. And I think also because I was in so in love with biology and working with my hands that was another aspect of me. And when I went to college, I had no idea what I would do. So I came into college, actually in the premed program imagining that I would go into medical school and become a surgeon because I just had this sort of very naive dream that I would love to do surgery. I think maybe in one sense I could have done surgery if that was just doing surgery but there was so much else that I had to deal with in terms of information to memorize, I mean I loved a lot of the courses in premed but my brain cannot remember information, so surgery and med school started to look dim but at the same time, I was talking art courses and I started to fall in love with just the hours and hours of drawing and that sort of meditative state of being with the drawing. So accidentally, in my sophomore year just responding to some project that I was given and my school UNH in New Hampshire was very traditional art program, I didn't go because of the art program but it has a really good art program. I was doing bronze casting and oil painting and print making and for some reason I was given some 3D design project and I started to solder up a few little pieces of wire and I made a little gear and just a very simple little mechanism because I knew how to solder because I had made a heath kit which is a little electronics tools. So I sort of knew that, I'll put something together and all of this sudden this whole world opened up and I didn't know at that point but I can look back and I can see what was happening that I started to make these very fragile and I'm going to run this because this is not an early piece, a lot of early pieces have fallen apart because they were tin lead soldered but this is very a kin to what I was doing when I first started to work with wire. So I found myself making this very complex mechanisms and part of the challenge of making these was the physical challenge of holding the pieces of wire in space as I solder them. And as the wire was getting hot because I was using a tin lead solder it starting to burn my fingers and it was very much a physical challenge to see if I could actually build these things. So this was me doing my surgery, I created a little world in which I could be a surgeon. And because I was creating these mechanisms in space I think that was the part of me that wanted to be a computer programmer. I could take all of that logical causing effect that always thought a little bit dry because it was just in code and I could do all of that in 3D space and it felt visceral. And then working with wire, it became line and space, I'm drawing and space, so I could take all of my feelings and put them into these little fragile machines. So that's how these started with me and I've never studied engineering in any formal way, its just been 30 years of making a mistake every time but slowly learning, slowing learning through intuition about how things move and how things feel when they move. But the impulse for me to work has always been to follow the feeling of the piece. I've always been driven to want to express a feeling. Thanks. And in many ways those fragile machines they are like close to oil painting as I can get because those pieces that machine evolved, it just grew and its very much about plant growth. Now this is a fairly early piece I called it the busyness man its kind of about this frenzy feeling of time. This little man has a long, he is in his long now a frenziness. So he is a little plastic figure, he is about like 3 inches tall and I remember designing this piece I started with the man, I created a kind of a general framework, I didn't think about how the mechanism would have to be designed beforehand and I gave myself the problem the challenge of having a hand crank that would all enter in one direction and I had to solve all of the problems of making him walk back and forth by having a crank in one direction. And those initial conditions lead to that piece. And there is nothing in these machines that is superfluous. All of the parts are therefore a mechanical functional reason but of course I have great latitude with how I use the wire. But everything is there for a true functional. Now there is a piece of knotted string there, now this machine was done maybe about 15 years ago and I graduated from just tin lead soldering. I learned very slowly, is like I evolved very slowly. All of the first machines they were all put together with tin lead solder electrical soldered and any joints were under stressed ultimately just broke. So now basically what I'm doing is I'm spark welding the wire and silver soldering the wire. In contrast, here is a very simple machine that is called machine with Chinese fan and really just imagining, just opening a Chinese fan what does it feel like and I wanted to make the machine. I'm going to stop this for one second. I think a lot about this edge between clarity and ambiguity and I think that there is a golden very important place when we were working in the arts that if the object is crystal clear and completely ambiguous at the same time I think that is the condition that allows a viewer to both comprehend and not understand it and then naturally to make sense you're going to create your own story with it. If its too clear then there is not enough to dream with and I think if its too ambiguous then maybe there is not enough to dream. So there is kind of a fine line that I tried to hit. Now, this piece really started of as a very simple toy. I mean sometimes the pieces I feel like they give me back more than I put it and I was just playing with the wishbone after dinner one day imagining that this was a cowboy who had been on his horse for too long. Now I want you to forget all of that because then that's like distorts you but that's really how this happened and in a very playful way just taking the wishbone and walking it across the table and I thought well, I could just make a drill machine that would cause the wishbone to move in that manner. And then if he machine itself was just on wheels then the wishbone to drag its machine, so it becomes kind of a confusing, it's a little bit of paradox. Now once I got the machine done I feel like because the wishbone is part animal then that's of course where we enter and I feel like of course all of these machines are self portraits and so I feel like that is me and very much I always feel like that but I'm learning, I'm slowly learning. Okay, machine with concrete, this piece I made a number of versions of and the first piece came to me I remember the moment I was walking by the GSD at Harvard University and I just had this thought, it was kind of a mathematical playful thought that I could take a series or reduction gears and if I made the reduction sufficient enough then I could create a kind of a strange situation and I was imagining that if I took a series of worm reductions and if I took a reduction of 1/50 and then started to stack 1/50 upon 1/50, then I could come up with a machine where one end would move so slowly that it might as well be fixed and not moving at all. And I remember the first manifestation of the piece I made out of wire and it didn't express the idea at all. I was just working, I was caught in the math of it and I wasn't really feeling it and I made like a little spiral tower with these wire gears that I make, it turned a little bottom crank and it was the same principal and the top gears were actually soldered in place but nobody knew it, you couldn't see it, so it didn't really convey the feeling. So after that I re-envisioned and I realized I have to use substantial gears, I have to use wheel materials that you can get a feeling sense for. So I made this piece, machine with concrete. Now what you see there, there is the last gear that's embedded in concrete and this is a series of 12 50 to 1 reductions. The motor is turning it 212 revolutions a minute, now the pan across, so the first one is turning 1/50 of that and the next one is 1/50 of that and 1/50 of that and before too long its moving so slowly that it will take the last gear 2.191 trillion years to turn. So we get to that point, you can do anything. Is that considered a long now? I don't know. So I embedded it in concrete and I thought about many manifestations conversions of this that I've made just two others but one piece that I have yet to make that I really want to do is to have the machine, the mechanism trailing of and then the mechanism is actually looks like its been melted of the pedestal, so you have a working machine on one end and then you have the melted machine on the other. I was then asked to make another version for a museum in Germany and so I made this next version which I don't have a video of but you can get a sense, I used these spur gears and I oriented them at a slight angle and the difference with this version is that the large gear you're going to see an image, the large gear there is actually cut through the block of cement, so very clearly its not going to move. In this care there are many more gears and I forgot with the exact ratio of that one is. But then I was just recently invited to be a part of a show in Austria and they really wanted to show the machine with concrete and I wanted to make another one and to actually think more about what the final reduction would be because with the first two, I had created the machine but hadn't really contemplated how slow it should go and what's it about and I decided that a nice target point would be the big bang which people some scientists imagine is 13.7 give or take a few billion years but 13.7 billon years that's what I've read. So I made the next machine and unfortunately I don't have video of this one either but that's what it looks like. This is like so awful to just have this moving machine but just show a picture of it and I'm showing you a picture because sometimes or very often the subtitle for my work is machines in the nick of time and I had to get these piece sent off to the show and I literally got it done and into the crate the moment the shipper was arriving and I was going crazy I don't have time to take a picture of it or take any video and then it went away. And this image was actually shot by the people at the show. But the last gear which is embedded in that block is will turn once every very closely once every 13.7 billion years and I decided that this one I would title beholding the big bang because it feels very much like I'm looking back to that point and as I think about these machines, its not about the math, its not about the ratios, for me its about the feeling of the intense activity that's going on the left and the very quite stillness that's happening on the right. And its very much about this duality that I feel actually in my own being which is beholding my own action, my own activity, my own frenzied activity, my own drive and desire to move. And the other part of me, which feels timeless and very quite and very still. So I think that for me this is where I was trying to get at in the making of these pieces is to somehow make - somehow envision this duality that I sort of feel in my own being. In many ways, it's in a very strange way its kind of a deep self-portrait in that sense, thank you. So this next piece, I'm thinking about time, this next piece, I titled it Cory's yellow chair, Cory is my son and he had from a long time he had a little yellow chair in my studio. I'm going to just run through this brief. It's a very short sequence. So when I first imagine this piece, I looked at Cory's chair and I saw it explode in my mind and I saw it exploding up I first actually imagined a piece on a pedestal and I imagined the lifesize chair and I imagined this lifesize chair exploding up and out into 12 pieces and the only important thing here is that the gesture with which the imagination was that it felt very clear that the explosion was instantaneous. And the moment that the chair exploded, the pieces removing at infinite speed flying away and somehow with the force of some sort of gravity, these pieces that flew away from the center point would slow down and a kind of gravitational force would bring them back to the center, they would reach a point of stillness at the far extreme of their period and then begin to coalesce and to condense into forming a chair again, approaching infinite speed the moment that the chair is in existence and its there for just a moment and then its gone. So I can very clearly imagine all of these things in my mind I can imagine, I can see the pieces moving with infinite speed and stopping instantaneously but of course you can't do this in the physical world. So when I had the thought to make this piece already I knew that it was just going to be a very weak step at this idea that all I could do would be do just suggest what the true feeling was because there will be no way I could really build it truthfully. And then there was a lot of development I said it started of as an imagination with 12 pieces exploding up and out and that gradually worked down to 6 pieces and I changed the orientation of the way I was first imagining the machine and ultimately came up with that version. Now some of you have seen the actual piece but that piece that you just saw the chair is only this big, its about 4 inches tall and its exploding to about 4 feet. And I did make another larger version which is also in a museum in Germany right now but really the essence for me I found what was driving that piece was a question of when is now, like when is now and very often at the beginning of a Buddha's Dharma talk the teacher will clap his or her hands and that moment of the clapping is kind of a signal of the now moment and I think I was reaching for that in the moment that the chair was coalescing, asking when is now and I wanted the chair to be there for just an instance because the now feels so fleeting, its just gone, its here and its gone. This next series of pieces came as a result of meeting someone in Boston who is part of a movement theater company and together we created a piece called Shadow of a doubt, which was a play that involved wheel people and large machines on stage in a drama that the subject of the drama was a guy who was kind of a tormented inventor like nobody I know, a tormented inventor/investigator and anyway just to give you some sense because I'm going to show you a machine called the knife throwing machine. But I wanted to talk about the notion of the play which was very much also about thinking about this moment of now that we had this feeling that if we think about all of the activities of life as a kind of mechanism that in which we're a part of and there are so many chance events, so many moments that have brought everybody in this room together here in this moment, now we're sharing this moment. And after the talk is over we're going to disperse and we'll go about our lives and there is a feeling that its kind of like of an hourglass feeling where if you had to think about all of our lives coming to this point, this shared movement, this common moment and then dispersing. So of course there are infinite number of these moments happening all the time but we had this feeling that this could be kind of the backbone for this play and I made a series of large machines that would somehow represent the fabric that was in the background. This machine here and I don't have video of it was a very large, its about this tall, I call that the unfolding machine and at one point in the play this machine would come out from stage right and it would move very slowly out and then the arm on top would very slowly raise up and there was series of gears that were rhythmically pulling it up and the arm would raise up and then the machine began to fall and it went through about a 3 or 4 minute slow motion fall in space and I have another image here which is the machine in its downward, its almost reach the ground. Now on the way right, you see there is a little extension there, is kind of a head there. And when the machine very gracefully came down to the floor, it released a crystal ball that rolled into the hands of this tormented inventor who was sort of sitting in front of it and that was one focused moment in the play. And the next focused moment was that throughout the entire duration of the play this machine which is the letter delivery machine that started of on stage right at the beginning of the play in the context of the play you know that the protagonist is to receive a letter from his wife at the stroke of midnight and everything is coming down to this moment, this stroke of midnight. So in the audience you can see the letter on its way because this machine that wheel that's of to your left that foot would very slowly get pushed out and pulled in and pushed out and every time you would do that that machine would inch forward very slowly, so we had to choreograph this play around this machine that was actually moving forward during the whole production. But you can see it working towards the place in space and time where the letter is to be delivered and thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the letter way out in front, so you can see you have an anticipation, the letter is reaching that point, we're coming to the point of midnight. And on the other side of the stage, stage left was the knife throwing machine that at the beginning of the play, it cocked itself and it raised the arm and its holding a very substantial piece of metal which is a real throwing knife and its pointed right at that point where the letter is to be delivered. So its all coming down and there is a very strong feeling that these machines are in cahoots. And that they are really after him or this is fate or somehow basically what happened was there was an intense flurry of activity at the stroke of midnight. And right at the moment of midnight suddenly there was silence and he is there and he reaches for the letter, he is in the middle of the stage and he reaches for the letter and the knife is trained right at him just before he grabs the letter it falls out of the head of a letter delivery machine to the floor, so he has to reach down to pick it of the floor and at that point the knife machine it throws the knife over his head into the wall right behind him. We were very careful because it really did throw this knife. Now making the knife throwing machine was totally crazy because I never made a knife throwing machine before this, so I just got so like hard in the idea this is going to be really cool, I got to do this but I'm telling you its like I just imagined what I would have to do to throw the knife and I made the parts and I'm working down in my basement at this time and the ceiling is this height and I'll let it go and the knife hits the ceiling and like flies over the floor, its like oh! My god, this is terrible and of course the production in which this is going to be in is like set because we've committed to doing the play at a festival in Boston. So a little bit of anxiety there. But it was a wonderful learning journey to figure out to solve the problem like how am I going to get this machine to throw this knife and I did get it to throw pretty accurately. I mean it would throw that knife 25 feet across the stage and into the wall I think usually it would hit the same exact spot. So okay, usually let me see, its 8:20. Okay, I'm going to just over it up, there was a lot of --.