Machine for Taking Time was commissioned by the Oakville Galleries for the show “Earthly Delights/Deep Gardening.” In the piece, Rokeby’s “machine” consists of a surveillance camera that takes 1081 still images of the gallery’s gardens along the same path daily. All of these images are archived, then stitched back together as a video that retains that same path, but uses images from different days. In the gallery, the video of the surveillance images is mounted next to a window overlooking the gardens, which juxtaposes the virtual and lived spaces. As its title suggests, this artwork highlights time not simply as an unfolding of chronological events or images, but rather, as a reconstruction of moments, memories, and illusions.
This piece is a site-specific work that Rokeby recreated in several different locations. He also developed a newer incarnation of the piece, David Rokeby, Machine for Taking Time (Boul. Saint-Laurent) (2006-2007), commissioned by Daniel Langlois Foundation. More information on this latter piece can be found on the foundation’s website, http://www.fondation-langlois.org/e-art/e/machine-for-taking-time.html.