Leap Seconds

In Rachel Joyce’s novel “Perfect”, the early story begins during a Leap Year and when Byron's best friend James tells him that two extra seconds will be added to the clocks because "time was out of kilter with the natural movement of the Earth …” After that, Byron becomes obsessed with the fact and one day on the way to school, Byron believes his watch has jumped ahead two seconds, then he witnesses his mother hit a girl while driving. This devastating mistake led to the tragedy.  Byron's perfect world is shattered. Were those two extra seconds to blame? The impact of leap seconds on Byron is just as shocking as when the world first heard Nicolaus Copernicus saying that "the earth revolves around the sun." It’s so important to get in touch with a more real world, let man refresh the old world view, correct past mistakes, and continue to survive. For some people, correcting past mistake is a pleasure. But to others, this shock is unacceptable, because mistake represents that the past self is imperfect. 

Man has divided the world into many dimensions, time is one of them. In a sense, time is an artificial rule. The rotation speed of the earth is not as constant as one would expect, it is sometimes fast and sometimes slow, and the length of one second will change accordingly.

My artwork Leap seconds is inspired by “Perfect”, this book made me stop and think how does one or two seconds can affect human’s life. A person's life can only experience from the cradle to the grave. It is mandatory for everyone to spend 24 hours a day. One minute has 60 seconds, which means there are 86400 seconds in a day. One blink of an eye is one second; snap a finger is one second; press a “Enter” key is one second, these progress seems too insignificant to notice.


On the other hand, it seems like there's no essential difference between people in the nature of time, that’s why one or two seconds it's the fairest thing in the world. The idea of my work is to perceive the change in an invisible natural form, by documenting the two seconds difference. Two seconds doesn't seem like much, but there’s a lot we can do with what we learned.

Like Japanese artist Nobuhiro Nakanishi said, “We are all subject to the passing of time, yet each of us feels and perceives it in our own way,” he says,  “Time itself has no shape or boundary and cannot be fixed or grasped. When we look at the photographs in these sculptures, we attempt to fill in the gaps between the individual images. We draw from our physical experiences to fill in missing time and space, both ephemeral and vague.” In his artwork, Nakanishi continuously shoot the same object to obtain images over a period of time, then selected images from his documentation on panels of acrylic in chronological order. Therefore, viewers can see the slight variation from frame to frame. He uses this to prove the infinite flow of time. 

Layer Drawing - Light of forest
 Layer Drawing - Cloud/Fog

Overall, this video work was created during the coronavirus pandemic. I have been thinking a lot during this period. Instead of making an artwork on the virus, I choose time as my subject, because I believe time is the best antidote. Like the end of novel “Perfect”, Jim - growing up Byron, he overcomes fear find the cause of happiness. A seemingly meaningless gesture, it is enough to have the meaning of existence. Like Joyce wrote, "life can change a little for the better".