Time and its relentless arrow have been habitual problems to art for a long time. The old debate between an art based in time and an art suspended in time, between the former’s complex temporality and the latter’s idealized atemporality, has been left behind and we can now say that the history of modernity is mostly the victory of time’s presence and its irreversibility in the art field, from visual arts to cinema, from literature to the performing arts.
With the increasing incorporation of technological time, contemporary art in turn became a space for experimentation of the very notion of time. Either as a delaying or as an accelerating factor, art has made time into one of its central issues. We might even say that time has transformed itself into a medium in its own right, thus serving as both link and common matter for different art practices. Therefore, time is a medium which defines a plasticity of its own and extends from cinematic experiences to the performing arts, from sound and image combinations to relationships between time and space, making up one of the most intense fields of art practice. The expression “time-based art” thus seems to reach much further than the limited territory of cinematics or performativity to become directly or indirectly the corner stone of a major part of contemporary art.