I’ve long been struck by the conception of time put forth by the Scottish philosopher David Hume. Hume thought of time as an infinite series of nows. Now—this exact moment, the present—is the only aspect of time we can experience. We can remember the past, we can plan for the future, but we can only exist in the now. The present is the only thing that’s real. That’s trippy to me—the idea of moving through life in a rapid-fire sequence of nows, leaving a million spent moments in my wake.
Brian Knowles’s work reminds me of Hume’s time. Working in stop-motion animation, Knowles creates entire worlds, building one now upon the next to tell the story of existence. He constructs large-scale installations using mountains of painstakingly hand-crafted materials. Using a digital camera, Knowles photographs each step of the process, recording every moment, committing them to memory. Once the installation is complete—a process that can take up to 40 hours, not counting the untold hours required to create the materials—Knowles projects the animation, showing us both the world and the series of past nows that lead to its creation. When the installations are disassembled, Knowles saves every scrap of material for use in future work, allowing elements of the past to exist in future presents.
Knowles’s installation Some Is Greater will be featured as part of “A Rich Stash, A Nova Incredible,” a group show opening at Believe Inn on Friday. Get over there and see it before time passes you by.
“A Rich Stash, A Nova Incredible” runs at Believe Inn, 2043 N. Winchester, from June 28-July 26.