Hitoshi Nomura, Tardiology, 1968–69, one of eight digital C-prints, each 31 1/2 x 47 1/4".

Hitoshi Nomura, Tardiology, 1968–69, one of eight digital C-prints, each 31 1/2 x 47 1/4".

Hitoshi Nomura

Hitoshi Nomura, Tardiology, 1968–69, one of eight digital C-prints, each 31 1/2 x 47 1/4".

IN THE FALL OF 1968, I conceived of a sculpture called Tardiology, which would be a twenty-six-foot-tall freestanding tower made out of cardboard. I exhibited and photographed it outside the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art in March 1969.

I had been taught that sculpture was about three-dimensional forms made from timeless materials. However, in observing the disintegration of the cardboard packaging around an early Plexiglas sculpture of mine some months before making Tardiology, I witnessed the creation of an unplanned form shaped by weathering, gravity, and time. This both troubled and intrigued me.

By photographically documenting the collapse of Tardiology over the course of four days, I began to explore what I had experienced, and it was some months before I realized the implications for my methodology as an artist. The simple act of periodically recording the demise of the cardboard tower registered changes in the structure over time that would otherwise have gone unnoticed. I realized then that time itself was my subject and that transmitting and disseminating its presence through different media was my art.

The arrow of time moves forward relentlessly, and this is registered in planetary motion no less than in natural phenomena. We live in a four-dimensional world (one-dimensional time and three-dimensional space), and I wonder how time itself will develop over time. Given these interests, I have often turned to new technologies in my work, and my application of science has evolved by extension. My choice of media is driven by these factors.