Louise Neiland

366 moons

366 Moons

Every physical thing is finite and is, therefore, measurable. Every physical thing has been measured, is being measured, will be measured. Time, not being tangible, is not governed by the same rules, and it was this nebulous nature of time that drew me to the challenge of trying to depict in still images our ongoing efforts to measure and record it.

Given the myriad methods employed in this effort, it became clear to me that to examine the measurement of time I would have to use something tangible and unchanging; something that defies human intervention; something in nature that we can use to compare with our own fallible methods of measurement. The moon.

2008, being a leap year, presented an opportunity to focus on the human manipulation of the lunar year, where we insert an extra day – one year in four – to keep our efforts of measuring time in line with the immutable timepiece of the solar system. 366 moons.

This maintenance of our parallel run with solar time is now as accurate as possible – because we have had to engineer our recording of time to match nature’s rhythm. In introducing (in 1752) the system presently in use, we had to drop 11 days from our calculation, so that we could eradicate accumulated recording errors and start from a time and date in alignment with solar time. 11 moons.

To become involved in looking at something as abstract as measuring time is perhaps like walking through a labyrinth, a contained structure in which the twists and turns have no beginning and no end. To attempt to understand it, or even to create images that relate to it, has been, and continues to be, a great challenge.