I made An Unimaginable Unit of Time during the pandemic to process and be with the collective grief, anxiety and inability to track time. In the first weeks of the pandemic, when I could be in the studio, I returned to my vocabulary connecting grief and papermaking developed following my father’s death in 2007, tearing fabric and gripping pulp. I tear fabric to connect to k’riah, a Jewish mourning tradition where garments are torn graveside as an act of exposing ones heart in a time of grief. Prior to the pandemic, I gripped pulp and squeezed out water to leave an imprint of the negative space of my hands to process the inability to touch people once they pass. During the pandemic, I began gripping pulp around the torn sheet line to track the passing days and process the overwhelming absence of touch.

Initially I tore bedsheets without a plan. Soon after I began tying the torn sheets together to make a line with no end in sight. Each day of social distancing, beginning March 17, 2020, is marked by a grip of pulp, all made from the impression of my hands using pulped white bedsheets and t-shirts gripped every 6 ft, alluding to social distance. I continued adding 6 feet and one grip for each day of social distancing to An Unimaginable Unit of Time waiting for the end of the pandemic to conclude the project. Realizing there would be no definitive end in sight to the pandemic, I stopped adding grips when our 3 year old child had access to his first COVID vaccine. 840 days/grips later, 6 feet for each day, the line of ripped bedsheets is 5,040 feet, almost 1 mile long.

The resting form for An Unimaginable Unit of Time is wrapped around a spinning wooden armature based on a reinterpretation nautical chip logs, which measured speed by tracking distance over time. In the future I will unfurl the line to experiment with temporarily install the line in various ways - stretched out at it’s full length, wrapped around a space, on the floor in knots, moving in collaboration with others - and eventually rewrapping it around it’s base - unfixed, non-linear and flexible.

An Unimaginable Unit of Time
Pulped bedsheets and t-shirts, grips every 6 ft on repurposed, torn bedsheets
March 17, 2020 (first day of social distancing) - July 4, 2022 (child's first vaccine)
Bedsheet line, 5040 ft (.95 mile) long
Wooden armature, 69.50 x 33 x 33 in

Photo credit: Henrik Kam

An Unimaginable Unit of TimeAn Unimaginable Unit of Time 69.50 x 33 x 33 in An Unimaginable Unit of TimeAn Unimaginable Unit of Time 1 of 840 grips for each day of proj Unimaginable Unit of Time, detailUnimaginable Unit of Time, detail Wrapped "line", .95 miles long