time=money=time= project
text by Natasa Ilic [cro]


Time is money is a slogan approved by everyday experience to such an extent that one could argue against it only from the viewpoint that questions the concept of linear time and cause-effect relation as much as it questions the inexorable logic of the capital. Individual time frictions with the scales of geographical and social time, exceptionally vividly in waiting rooms, means of transportation, at moments when one is not sleeping yet but has already awaken, when travelling, or in late afternoons after a sleepless night. Time disturbance we feel racing with schedules and deadlines, under pressure to value time as an arrow, denies our inner sense of time that has no universal equivalent measurable by any units of time. Just as the matrix of capital based on money as an universal equivalent has no permanent gaps, the spaces that temporarily escape the terror of linear time finally get inscribed and evaluated within the organization of the time we live by. Today, time is no longer a principle of intelligibility. Due to the excess of events we barely have time to reach maturity before our past has become history, and our individual history belongs to history writ large. We are faced with an explicit and intense daily need to give meaning to the world. 
The action time=money=time= introduces a factor of instability into the traffic circulation. Traffic organization is based on linear concept of time that skillfully manipulates the fact that the traffic is a frustratingly dissipate system, ripe with non-linear aspects. The action has been realized as a circular drive around a town square that is pregnant with historical references. Instead of circling the square and heading along the forking streets, the tram circles round and around the square, while on the advertising display the message time=money=time= appears and the same text comes from the loudspeaker. The race with time acquires a quality of a chance whose significance might be similar to unintentionally missing the flight by a plane that crashes, to the immeasurable time of meditative bliss or to the drop that spilled the glass. Is it an exercise of power, an observing of discipline or a diversion by civil disobedience? The point in which fluctuations force an existing system into change that threatens its structure, and whose outcome depends on unpredictable chance, causes tension, fear, anger, excitement or relief. A tram, the ideal ambience, free of all references, a non-place defined solely by its purpose, discontinued from the town square as a place, a relational, historical place pregnant with conflicting identities. The purposeful circulation of the organized urban traffic, whose only function is to transport from point A to point B, turns the meaningless circling around the square into travel, as well as it turns the working process into leisure, compulsive as it is. The accompanying text and sound, time=money=time=, is at the same time an explanation and a warning, a practical joke and an unnecessary command, a threat and an advertising message whose charm we resist just to fall under its spell. A means of traffic as a possible place of contemplative leisure? An ordeal of loneliness is being transformed into time optimization. The time that has to be consumed, the time that can not be consumed. 
A symbol of time, a reduced clock, and a symbol for money, the dollar sign, have been added into the existing font of the tramís advertising display. In one of the processes triggered by the tram action, the symbols get multiplied in computer animation and in a portfolio of prints, and enter the economic circulation of goods and information. The meaning is changed in a different medium. Animation on the internet has no casual corporate cling, but the seriousness of the late ë70s German electronic music. The form of graphic prints is inscribed in the market logic, recalling the fact that art production that stays out of market barely deserves the dignity of the artistic. Falling out of tracks? Next deadline?

Natasa Ilic