A Commission for The Bield at Blackruthven Twentieth Anniversary
The larger logs are markers of a sundial where the cross acts as the gnomon, marking time by its shadow as the earth rotates relative to the sun. There is one larger log for each year of The Bield’s history. Guests at their anniversary celebrations were invited to complete the sculpture by adding memories of their experiences here, placing their own markers within the time piece.
Christianity has used astronomy since medieval times, the daily cycle of prayer being kept from observance of the sun. However this sculpture is not about time keeping, but the significance or insignificance of time in eternity. The shadow which tells the time is simply a ‘trick of the light’ not an object itself. The fact that this particular sculpture will only tell the time accurately in the month in which it was constructed further emphasises the arbitrary nature of time.
Natural time governs the universal order and so is objective and scientifically measured, but time itself cannot do anything, it simply is. Memories may fade, but time cannot remedy our wrongdoings. Time can be thought of as linear; something with a past, present and future, but it is also cyclical in nature, as it repeats itself in potentially endless cycles of planetary motion. Thus the sundial in using these cycles to measure linear time captures something of the lifespan between birth and death, but also signifies the potential immortality of life beyond our earthly life.
Psychological time is of course subjective, we perceive time through events in time, just as we can measure time by the movement of shadow over the sundial. But experiencing another person’s perception of time is not possible. Another’s sense of urgency or of waiting is felt by the individual alone. This more human sense of time, where we consume natural resources faster than they can be replaced, operates on a different frequency from natural time and so can cause us to be separated from nature. In this sculpture the gap between Humanity and God is bridged, our time and Gods time can, if only momentarily coincide.