Time has got to be the trippiest human-made thing we still hold on to. I say this first in relation to the speed at which the weeks are already progressing and the ideas, plots, and writing racing along with them. Naturally, almost everyone is well on their way to having a fully fleshed out film. Sitting in on the sessions this past week and hearing the ideas being floated out, the brainstorming taking place, and even the moments where everyone sits with their cameras and mics off in order to dedicate their time to writing and figuring out their movies bit by bit; I know good stuff is coming. Everyone has something they want to do, something they want to say, something meaningful they want to show their audience and they’re already figuring out how to make that happen. Hit the ground running, friends.
I am also thinking about time as something we’ve become intensely familiar with since the pandemic reached our shores. Time is viewed in different ways in different parts of the world; not everyone sees things in a linear way or even with the same calendar. To be sure, before the ruthlessness of colonization and the enforcing of the Eurowestern straight and narrow timeline, Oceania operated within completely different perceptions of time. The taonga I wear around my neck is in the shape of a koru or a spiral. It’s based on the fern fronds found in the forests in Aotearoa, New Zealand and it represents new life, growth, and cycles. I learned early in my decolonizing journey that this is how a good portion of Oceania saw time: as a continuation of natural processes, where we transition from one phase to another, and we keep the circle moving. I personally have found that this tends to be a much more loving and nurturing way to look at the passage of time and seasons. Loving and nurturing because we are allowing for continued growth and movement for ourselves, as opposed to Eurowestern ideals of time that encourage us to see moments and phases of life as beginning and end, success or failure, and do it now or do it never.
Time in the pandemic has been a difficult thing for us to wrestle with because of the restriction of Eurowestern time. And the pressures of time are real in this system. The infrastructure we operate in is designed to make us feel as if we are always running late, running out of time, and never deserving of rest. There are procedures put in place to make it so this is a constant. So when all of that is suddenly transferred from the exterior world to the interior world, what do we do? What does that feel like? How do we cope with the fact that home, a place where we go to try and find a standstill from the outside rush of capitalism, is now at the center of it since many of us now have to homeschool and work remotely? What do we do with the extra time given to us since many of us are at home and don’t have to figure in traffic, bus routes, walking or riding distance, etc.?
The way we live and fight for more room within the strict confines of Eurowestern time is being exposed. We are seeing it for what it is now. And I am hoping that we will only keep pushing to escape out from under it.