Time: An introduction
Hello readers. I hope that you are well, that your hands are washed and that your thoughts remain calm. I’ve had this B-Side in my calendar for over a month. I am so excited that it’s finally here. I remember the day I put it in my calendar. I wrote down when the articles would be due, when they would go to production here in the newsroom and the date they’d be published. Like most things in my calendar, I wrote them with certainty. I envisioned the future through the truth of the present. Most of us do this, and we usually don’t notice it. We think about time through a unidirectional arrow of past, present and future that continues at a steady rate of 60 seconds per minute. But time is fickle: Living through the COVID-19 pandemic teaches us this. Time can speed and slow. One minute can be vastly more important than the next, or they could all be rendered useless in the following hour.
As I float in the current of the coronavirus's impact on our world, it seems time has completely stopped. Yet, in the same moment, it also seems like time is moving faster than ever. I didn’t consider any of this when I chose “time” as the theme of my B-side. I thought about clocks, and rhythm and even considered the power of suspense. But I did not consider the very essence of time — its unpredictability and vagueness.
The past can change the future and the future will alter the past. The present is a mixture of them both. It is a non-static idea that changes person-to-person, minute-to-minute, day-to-day. Time is universal. It does not speak a language or hold a nationality. Seemingly, then, we all agree to understand the un-understandable. Laid out in this week’s B-Side are some of our writer’s perspectives on time as it pertains to art. I encourage you to read them all, and then, consider: What is your time, what is your art and where will they take you next?
—Zoe Phillips, Senior Arts Editor