William Kentridge Field Trip

Dylan Yamada-Rice

My Information Experience Design (IED) tutorial group and I went to see the William Kentridge exhibition Thick Time at the Whitechapel Gallery. The Gallery’s website describes the exhibition as:

“South African artist William Kentridge (b.1955, Johannesburg) is renowned for his animated expressionist drawings and films exploring time, the history of colonialism and the aspirations and failures of revolutionary politics.In this major exhibition of six large-scale installations by the artist, music and drama are ruptured by revolution, exile and scientific advancement.”

The first installation The Refusal of Time opened with projections of a metronome and a central ‘breathing’ installation. I wrote down the following words as I watched it:

Movement/ Time/ Sound


Image source: The Refusal of Time, Film Still, 2012

Over the course of the installation I began to think about how these words also closely relate to graphic narratives.

Scott McCloud (2003) writes about the gaps between the panels of graphic novels also being spaces in which the story continues. Left to the reader’s imagination the pace of the story is controlled by both the author and the reader. At times there is more space for the reader to add their own interpretation of the story into these panel gaps than at others.

I thought about McCloud’s categories of movement in graphic novels as either:

Moment-to-Moment/ Action-to-Action/ Subject-to-Subject/ Scene-to-Scene/ Aspect-to-Aspect/ Non sequitur

The metronome’s movement seemed to relate closely to the moment-to-moment style of visual depiction.

In an earlier group tutorial we had explored telling a story using McCloud’s different categories and the extent to which these changed the narrative. My comic was based on a fox’s experience of a tsunami :c2o3zzqxuaerhkl

The movement of the metronome reminded me of drawing the ‘moment-to-moment’ movement of the tsunami:


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