Eduardo Navarro, Timeless Alex, 2015. Performance and installation; duration and dimensions variable. Courtesy the artist
Titled Timeless Alex (2015), Eduardo Navarro’s newly commissioned work for the 2015 Triennial: “Surround Audience” departs from the conditions of experience determined by the human body to consider the phenomenological position of the turtle. The artist became intrigued by turtles’ perception of time—accentuated by the case of Lonesome George, the last living Pinta Island tortoise discovered in the Galápagos in 1971—and how self-awareness of their own longevity might affect cognition. The work is informed by the writings of Temple Grandin, a writer and autism activist who posited that animals think in pictures and understand life through constant sensorial stimulation generated by shadows, sounds, and colors. Without the ability to form language-dependent abstract concepts about these sensations, animals move through the world without a concept of time. In the exhibition, a sculptural model of a Galápagos tortoise is featured alongside a leather skin and face mask. At this two-hour event, the artist will activate the turtle by donning the sculpture and moving at slow speeds, meditating inside the shell in an attempt to move slower than language and reach a timeless state of mind.