“6 Months Later”, 6 Years Later
I was first introduced to Darren Almond’s artwork in 2005 when he came to give a guest lecture while I was in graduate school. At the time he had been nominated for the Turner Prize in British Art. I went to see his submission for the prize at the Tate Britain: a video installation entitled If I Had You,an homage to his widowed grandmother’s memories of her honeymoon in the English seaside resort of Blackpool. It was a beautiful and melancholy piece with music by Aphex Twin playing in the background. Although Almond didn’t win the prize that year, he left an impression on me. What I remember best about him was his delicate, faraway manner of speaking. He had a whisper of a voice, but his deliberate, poetic choice of words and his observations were remarkable.
I came upon 6 Months Later six years later in a photography installation of works from the collection of Heather and Tony Podesta. 6 Months Later has gotten a fair amount of press in recent months and rightly so. It’s a thoughtful piece, epic in scope and yet easy to overlook. 6 Months Later is a portrait of the artist’s studio over the course of 24 hours, shot in one minute increments. The 1,440 photos that comprise the piece are so small that at first glance you might think they’re identical. Look in the corner of the photos, however, and you can see time slowly ticking away on the flip-clock on the wall. It is a meditation on the mystery of the creative process, and the ephemerality of the present moment. That such weighty things can be articulated through a series of postage-stamp sized photographs is in keeping with the impression Almond made on me all those years ago: he had a quiet voice, but the message of his artworks spoke loud and clear.