'Agential Relationships of Time, Matter, Movement and Experience in System-based Kinetic Sculpture (using Luc Besson’s 'Lucy' as a Transversal Testing Ground)'

Presented at the conference 'Transversal Practices: Matter, Ecology and Relationality, VI Conference on New Materialisms' 27–29 September 2015, The Victorian College of the Arts, The University of Melbourne, Australia. 

In Luc Besson’s 2014 science-fiction film “Lucy”, lead protagonist Lucy (having absorbed drugs allowing her to access her full cerebral capacity) states: “Film a car speeding down a road; speed up the image infinitely and the car disappears. So what proof do we have of its existence? Time gives legitimacy to its existence; time is the only true unit of measure. It gives proof to the existence of matter. Without time we don’t exist.” My practice revolves around kinetic sculptural installations involving post-humanist considerations of matter, medium, agency, and systems. I was struck by the resonance of Lucy’s statement with system based kinetic sculpture. The interrelationships of matter, motion, time, components and sensory experience are compounded and exposed in the “ecological” emergence of these works. This paper uses Lucy’s statement as a starting point – a transversal testing ground, a framing tool – through which to explore relationships of time, matter and motion present in kinetic sculptural practice. Elucidating how kinetic sculptural systems take form through agential relationships, kinetic sculpture is exposed as a site in which entanglements of time, matter, motion, experience and practice can be explored and articulated. Delving into these practice led articulations of system-based kinetic sculpture, this paper will show that Lucy, in focusing on time as the “legitimiser”, overlooks the equally relevant and present agency of ever-moving matter. It will foreground the agential entanglement and transversal natures of time and matter – and by extension, of motion, sensory experience, and agencies encountered through artistic practice.