Linnaeus’ Flower Clock
colour, tinted, stereo
duration 17 min.
monitor 27”, media player, amplifier, stereo speakers
from an interview
‘and these things which live by dying.’
– R.M. Rilke, Duino Elegies
Perhaps flowers more than anything else have this quality about which Rilke writes. Indeed perhaps it is their intransient nature which lends them their beauty. Basis for this video piece is a text by Linnaeus dating from approximately 1735. His ‘flower clock’ reads as a time line: at every hour of the day another sort of flower opens or closes. In this piece I incorporate film fragments dating from the beginning of cinema and private video material. Like Linnaeus, I try to find reason and order in my personal life, but often I fail. As Barthes writes in his ‘A Lover’s Discourse’ about the image-reportoire of the language of love, is much of the way I love through images. Linnaeus’ Flower Clock is an inquiry into such images and into the fleetingness of the visual. But finally, it is also a personal testimony of an intimate relationship.
Linnaeus’ Flower Clock
6 am Spotted Cat’s Ear opens
7 am African Marigold opens
8 am Mouse Ear Hawkweek opens
9 am Prickly Snowthistle closes
10 am Common Nipple Wort closes
11 am Star of Bethlehem opens
12 noon Passion Flower opens
1 pm Childing Pink closes
2 pm Scarlet Pimpernel closes
3 pm Hawbit closes
4 pm Small Bindweed closes
5 pm White Water Lily closes
6 pm Evening Primrose opens
Already that feels like a long time ago,
that we travelled to the other side of the Earth and stayed on that tiny island.
I remember my excitement, when on the first night, green turtles came up onto the beach
and patiently laid and buried their eggs in the sand.
At dawn when we awoke, we found the green turtles slowly heading back to the sea.
I remember the first time you gave me flowers.
Now I give you these flowers, yours to keep.
In the beginning it all happened so fast.
No inhibitions, no holding back,
No time to catch my breath.
I’m so happy these days, that I wish for clocks to stop ticking.
I try to imagine what I will remember in 30 years time …
I like the notion that life is a story being told.
Like a child who wishes the same tale told over and over,
I repeat in my head my favourite scenes.
Tell me a tale by which we will live happily ever after.
Each morning of our journey I presented myself before the camera.
But what I see is myself looking at you looking at me.
The passing of these pictures is part of their nature.
In 30 years time will I remember all this?
I imagine what I will remember in 30 years time.
I remember what I will imagine in 30 years time.
They say that of a thousand turtle eggs only one hatchling survives to adulthood,
and that a female must be over fifty before she can reproduce.
But no one knows exactly how old turtles can become.
Now I understand why the turtle is a symbol for longevity.
‘And these things which live by dying’ – Rilke