photo: Max Pinckers photo: Max Pinckers photo: Max Pinckers photo: Max Pinckers photo: Max Pinckers photo: Max Pinckers Obviously, no one can make heads nor tails. Chiba City Museum of Art 2019 Does the exhibition space, which we encounter in mid-construc- tion, undergo changes from day to day? The situation we are presented is one that rouses our imagination by relating the ev- er-shifting time at the site to the venue’s location in Chiba near the “Chibanian” stratum that contains traces of a reversal of Earth’s magnetic field. An event that occurred 770,000 years ago, the geomagnetic reversal is a record that feels inapproacha-ble to us human beings, in terms of both its physical scale and temporal distance: it is to do with the history of Earth, far be-yond the history of art or even of our world. 目［mé］’s work makes us realize, always with reference to such a scale of time, that our everyday life is founded on an “arche-fossil sensibility” (extraordinary natural occurrences). And yet, in this exhibition, the sites undergoing construction on the two floors are set up identically, right down to the details – a situation that seems to deconstruct the very context of the museum. Reflecting also the fact that the Chiba City Museum of Art itself is presently under- going renovations, the exhibition creates a compelling setting where the real and the fictional are merged. The situation is, be- fore all else, time- and site-specific. Within his discussion of the “arche-fossil” and “ancestrality,” Quentin Meillassoux famously critiqued the correlationism of human thought, proposing a “speculative materialism” that seeks to remove human beings from the equation. What is needed, he states, in order to understand ancestrality, is not a chronological arrangement of time from past to present, but a retrojection that starts at the present and moves toward the past. What does he mean by this? It is indeed plain to see that describing a point in time before humanity as “X years ago” has little meaning. For Meillassoux, the “ancestral” does not indicate an ancient event; 01 rather than indicate a temporal past, it instead con- cerns itself with times (or entities) that precede humankind, a species endowed with a sense of time. If mankind came into ex-istence roughly 2,000,000 years ago, then the Chibanian Age, which supposedly spanned from 770,000 years ago to 120,000 years ago, is a considerably recent affair. The stratum may even be regarded as a diary of sorts. Though a remarkably young layer to be deemed an arche-fossil, it is seemingly this notion of mark- ing the passage of time that is contained in 目［mé］’s installation involving clock second hands, which float in a space without in- dices inside the main venue. The work is a motive for the primary creator, that is to say, for this production – likely a situational work that will undergo changes over the exhibition’s run. But by setting up this natural process on two floors, the work keeps the contingency within defined limits. The second hands too are treated more as a material that is reminiscent of insect legs, than as an expression of the infinitude of time, making us wonder whether they strike the seconds at the identical timings on the other floor too. Using time itself as a material is an act only granted to the divine; the artists are here dislocating the mean- ing (or awareness) of time, converting it into a material rhythm that marks its passage. It seems almost to imply that the work before us subsumes the context, the pulse, of ever-flowing time; this is validated by the site that is under construction, a situation usually withheld from our eyes. The work illustrates the mid-construction state. Confronted with the continuous flow of time, artworks rebel against this physical time by marking its passage in a concrete form. Art does not die. Or, perhaps, it invents (or constructs) a form of time in which not to die. By showing such a situation in a fictional (or real) way, the work speculatively transforms reality. The depth of the time, which is not simply reduced to a part of the production process, ties in with the geological time scale; the (situational) creator’s concept here is the minute yet momen- tous phenomenon engendered by the second hands that mark time’s passage, swarming like insects. The setting might be said to be like a metareal movie set. This situation is a response to the “fossilistic” event that is the geomagnetic reversal; but 目［mé］’s work also has an effect on the ancient layers of our consciousness, touching on the arche-fossil. It is this that we see manifested by the symmetry of the two identical settings. The exhibits dissect the established conceptions that time flows, that nature is unitary: rather than state that we cannot step into the same river twice, 目［mé］makes us step into a river twice, making us realize for the first time then that we cannot step into the same river twice. Even though no-one has experienced it, science has convinced human beings that a river never flows (that a situation never occurs) in the same state. 目［mé］resets this fixed idea, and by turning our attention to two identical situ-ations, makes us experience the state between sameness and difference. Creating two obviously identical situations adds, perhaps counterintuitively, to the ambiguity, leaving us more uncer-tain. Some visitors count the number of paint rings that paint cans have left on the blue tarpaulin sheets, while others take a good look at the worker dozing atop the stepladder. They behave like observers of time, or time-travelers, as they scrutinize the venue for such differences. Not even the direction from past to present is self-evident. The two floors encourage a conscious state in which even time can be manipulated; the visitor path in- side the venue also encourages such a rearranging of time. This is without doubt an arche-fossil sensibility (a change on a terres-trial scale) that fundamentally rethinks the relation of cause and effect in our reality – of which, obviously, no-one can make heads or tails. 01 Meillassoux, Quentin. After Finitude: An Essay on the Necessity of Contingency. Continuum, 2008. Haruchi Osaki (Artist) "目［mé］: Gazing on the arche-fossil " *extract from 目［mé］ Obviously, no one can make heads nor tails. Exhibition Catalogue This work is an installation work in which the actions of some people (the actual number of the people cannot be identified), whom the artist defines as "Scaper," are unfolding.