The Present Tense

This is an animation I created for the final project of an Art & Design course I completed in 2018.

My thematic starting point for this work was a quote from M Train by Patti Smith:

Is it time uninterrupted? Only the present comprehended?… If I write in the present yet digress is that real time? Real time, I reasoned, cannot be divided into sections like numbers on the face of a clock. If I write about the past as I simultaneously dwell in the present, am I still in real time? Perhaps there is no past or future, only the perpetual present that contains this trinity of memory.

I wanted to explore the concept of time and the present moment through animation.


The artwork is made up of  scanned drawings in pencil, Indian Ink and ink pens. The shapes are derived from the shapes in the beaches of the Outer Hebrides. I was particularly inspired by sand patterns.


The main soundtrack is a composition I recorded on my guitar. It aims to mirror the looping nature of thought patterns. I also recorded my own breath.

Spoken Word

The spoken word extracts are my own stream of consciousness writings as well as the Patti Smith extract shown above and extracts from T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets shown below:

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.
If all time is eternally present
All time is unredeemable.

Time past and time future
Allow but a little consciousness.
To be conscious is not to be in time
But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,
The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,
The moment in the draughty church at smokefall
Be remembered; involved with past and future.
Only through time time is conquered.