In the study of physics there are many concepts which are very useful, easy-to-understand
and utterly impossible.
One of these is the instantaneous moment time T. Stopped time. Stop action. Snapshot.
When everything that went before is past and everything that will come to be is future.
It is this moment. Or this fraction of a moment.
It is the one we are living in and the only place or time we can really say that we are.
When everything before is known only in memory and everything after is known only in hope.
So there is this now. There is no stop-rewind. There is no fast forward.
There is simply this instantaneous moment time T.
To further complicate the equations,
through art we have available an equally useful, equally easy-to-understand
and equally impossible concept in the depiction of motion on a piece of paper
–thin rice paper or heavy craft paper–the thickness makes no difference
because the machine can never run.
It can never move even the tiniest distance through its graphite gears.
The distance of the radius, the range of motion, the weight and counterweight,
the circumference of the whole or parts can be precisely determined
by the most elegant ink and mathematics
but never perform its function, never move, never change.
The marvel is that scientists and artists alike
can still lay beside us on the grass and watch the wind mill turn for hours
and know completely the luxury of being in motion.
“Machine Turn Quickly” painted by Francis Picabia in 1916-1918 at The National Gallery of Art Washington, DC, USA