(20 October 2019)
I woke up yesterday morning and noticed the darkness. 630am and I could still see stars. I realised that until the clock changed I would be up before sunrise. I decided to turn it into a walk of art: British Summer Time, an exploration of the time change.
The walks were inspired by the universal experience of the sun rising, but the politics of time quickly intruded. The articles on Daylight Savings Time that went beyond the factual focused on pending EU legislation to scrap the time change. Brexit supporting press featured EU Timelords and technocrats nefariously set on controlling every aspects of our lives. Framing the sunrise walks as art brought these issues into focus. It connected the action of my simple morning walk to larger conversations around who controls the borders--temporal, geographical, cultural--that dictate who walks when, where and how.
A response by a member of the Walking Artists Network asked whether it is necessary ‘to politicize even time’, that from her perspective the ‘spirit of the moment’ requires that we downsize politics and put it ‘back into proportion in our lives.’ Today I held this thought with me, wondering if it was necessary to politicise something as simple as walking the sunrise.
I considered the privilege of my ability to do so: the ease with which I could walk down the stairs and cross the street; my confidence moving through the park alone at dawn; the time I have to engage in such an activity. I considered my feelings of political impotence--in my position as an immigrant I cannot vote, and the hostile environment makes protest feel increasingly risky. I considered that for some people a walk is never simple, whether due to physical ability, gender appearance, skin colour, immigration status, familial responsibilities, or other factors.
What is, I wondered, the correct proportion of politics? In my art, a healthy dose.