As if you could kill time without injuring eternity

A jug of milk sways to and fro on the wooden table, until it finally falls down, milk spilling in all directions, and landing down on the ground, crashing. The moment was gracefully captured by a photographer: breakfast table in the 18th century cabin (long ago inhabited by a relatively well known Slovenian writer), a glance of early-morning summer sun from the outside, woman standing up from the bench to bring an assortment of confitures to the table, accidentally brushing against the jug. The desire to photograph was incited with the prospect of spilling; the result was the exposure of that desire. What intrigues the viewer, looking at the photograph (or a sequence of photographs) of the falling jug of milk, is not time – it is precisely the absence of time; the viewer is enticed by anticipation, brought about by the suspended moment. This kind of photography snatches moments from the successive course of time. Then there exist another kind of photographs; the kind that evoke the feeling of time not as course, but as rupture. Photography shares this temporal dimension with other sorts of art, chiefly with literature. Time in literature is not only the temporal space envisioned for his characters by the writer, nor is it only the time the reader spends turning the pages of the book, reading. A literary text can, as can a photograph, hold a moment forever, and make other vanish into nothing. For life is anything but a quiet stream of corresponding events. In the words of Vladimir Nabokov: “The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”

J. Gerčar

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