The Time-Space Continuum

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Siki Im | Installation | A.M.B 2011

Are time and space fixed structures? The history of this question goes back to the ancient Greeks, yet the issues of interest to modern physicists came into light with Sir Isaac Newton. In Newton’s cosmos, time and space provide a fixed, unchangeable and eternal background, with respect to how particles move. Like dancers on a stage, particles move, exert force onto one another and mainly act out the drama of dynamics, while the stage within itself does not change. Thus, Newton’s illustration of the universe is perceptibly background dependent, and whether or not a particle is in motion or at rest is determined in relation to Newton’s absolute space and time.

However, one of the central discoveries of Einstein is that in the universe, there is certainly no fixed time-space background. In Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which replaces Newton’s theory of mechanics and the gravitational force, the geometry of time and space is not fixed. Rather it is constantly evolving and dynamic in quantity. Yet it is exactly this that I find resonates with the German philosopher Leibniz and his concept of the universe. As Deleuze notes in The Fold, “the curvature of the universe extends in accordance with three other fundamental notions: the fluidity of matter, the elasticity of bodies, the spring as mechanism.”

Siki Im’s designs reflect Newton, Einstein and Deleuze’s theories by illustrating how design and architecture are not necessarily limited to objects, but can communicate something more to the consumer. Or in his case, he hopes that his clothes will evoke emotion from the consumer. As he noted, his designs question “the inside and the outside, the public and the private “ and communicate a certain degree of honesty due to its imperfection. In this manner, design for Im is all about creating a space with no fixed rules or orders — time and space as a stage.

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