Research Output

Time Machine

  HD Video, shelf and polyurethane mesh. Black and white, silent.

In this piece, the artist performs facial work-out exercises in big close-up and extreme slow-motion. The high-contrast monochrome cinematography is abstracted from the human body and is suggestive, at times, of natural forms and landscapes. Numerous books have been published containing such exercises, which are a popular subject on the internet, in the newspapers and on daytime TV.

A preoccupation with reversing the ageing process through these workouts, to slow, or even travel back in, time, appears widespread. It suggests a universal desire to combat Nature.

These natural forces, which will always prevail, seem themselves to be latent in the movement of the artists’ facial muscles, and are revealed by the slo-mo cinematography. Rather than being hidden away from view, the video projection system sits on a shelf in the middle of the floor, forcing the viewer to negotiate its presence in order to watch the film. This storage system is bound up with plastic mesh, trapping the hardware inside a cell that is analogous to the flesh that traps us all. Nowhere is this imprisonment more in evidence than in the slow deterioration of our faces.

The film screened in December 2013 as part of 'The Hand that Feeds' group show, One Cube or Two, Glasgow; showed as part of "Outside the Box', Paul Holmes's solo show, at Studio 21, Kolkata, June 2015; in a retrospective of his video work at the Little Cinema International Film Festival, Theatre for Experiments in New Technologies, Kolkata December 2017: and at Simply Beaming, HOPE, Engaru, Hokkaido, and Embassy Gallery, Edinburgh, June and September 2018.

Duration: 7 mins 19 seconds, looped.

  • Type:


  • Date:

    20 December 2013

  • Publication Status:


  • Library of Congress:

    N1 Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR

  • Dewey Decimal Classification:

    770 Photography, photographs & computer art

  • Funders:

    Edinburgh Napier Funded


Holmes, P. (2013). Time Machine



video art, artists' moving image, face, nature, ageing

Monthly Views:

Available Documents