Cognitive Mindfulness #9(b)

Martin Creed 'Work No 850' at Tate Britain

Image by Loz Flowers via Flickr

This is part two of Cognitive Mindfulness #9, and continues the Evans & Green passage.

“The difference between the domains of TIME and SPACE is that while TIME has the property of progression, SPACE is static.  ‘Progression’ means that the quantity within this domain is made up of a sequence of distinct representations because it changes from one instance to the next.  By way of illustration, imagine photographing someone engaged in an activity like stroking a cat.  Each of the photographs you take will be different from the previous one, and together they portray the activity.  In contrast, change is not an inherent property of objects, although of course objects can be involved in processes of change.”  [515-516, Evans & Green, 2006]

Immediately this reminds me of Dave Eggers and his quote about relationships from his work “You Shall Know Our Velocity!”

“And there is a chance that everything we did was incorrect, but stasis is itself criminal for those with the means to move, and the means to weave communion between people.”

When we produce creative works and establish relationships we are fulfilling the function for which our productive mobility and functional adaptiveness have been designed.  We are not giving in to the criminal nature of stasis…we are not moving towards inanimacy, static objects which do not inherently have the property of movement.

Consider Martin Creed’s recent installation of runners running through the Tate Britain every 30 seconds (Work No. 850) and this press release excerpt:

“…running is the opposite of being still. If you think about death as being completely still and movement as a sign of life, then the fastest movement possible is the biggest sign of life. So then running fast is like the exact opposite of death: it’s an example of aliveness.”

The activity of running is the opposite of death, or, in a sense, stasis.  Movement is antithetical to stasis.  Movement is enjoyed by the animate.  Considering that we die, and that when we die we are static, our life is like TIME which can experience progression, until we reach the state of stasis and become a static object in SPACE.

The morality of doing something with our time on earth should shock the boredom out of you…it should make you run and relate and progress and resist stasis.

Taking the Evans & Green illustration of a photo series of someone stroking a cat, consider the activities of your daily life, in an almost stop-motion photographic manner, and try to distinguish where your progression as a continuous activity-engaging entity gives way toward the discrete activity decrease in vitality.  When you can identify those moments you are in fact looking at your mortality.

This is what I try to do in my own life to appreciate the mundane moments of life and to resist and fight against boredom and senescence.  When you feel tired, do not sit down to rest; get up and keep running.  This is why I say “Death makes sense out of life.”


Dewey, Ryan. (2010) The Art of War Against Boredom, NewBotany Books

Eggers, Dave. (2003) You Shall Know Our Velocity!, Vintage

Evans, V. & Green, M. (2006). Cognitive Linguistics an Introduction, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates

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