Recently I edited the entry on Cathemerality in Wikipedia, adding the Etymology section. The Ancient Greek roots of the term are: “κατα = kata, through, and ήμέρα = hemera, day. The combination yields ‘kathemeral’ or, in conventional English transliteration, ‘cathemeral,’ meaning ‘through the day’. Day refering to the full 24 hours from midnight to midnight. Cathemerality is defined by Tattersall as such: “The activity of an organism may be regarded as cathemeral when it is distributed approximately evenly throughout the 24 h of the daily cycle, or when significant amounts of activity, particularly feeding and/or traveling, occur within both, the light and dark portions of that cycle.” Tattersall, Ian (1987) “Cathemeral Activity in Primates: A Definition”. Folia primatol 49: 200-202.
Lemur specimen at The American Museum of Natural History
Ian Tattersall speculates that the Lemur species he observed exhibiting cathemeral behaviour has evolved away from being nocturnal, and that cathemerality is an intermediate step toward becoming diurnal.
This makes me wonder about my own sleep schedule. Often I unintentionally sleep very little at night and wake up very, very early. Could sleep disorders actually be part of a normal spectrum of sleep? Are strange sleep schedules useful in a larger societal/evolutionary sense? It seems to me that our on the go lifestyles would benefit from 24 hours of evenly distributed activity.
I am constructing an orchidarium affectionately named Floriguay that combines natural and cultural phenomenon of Florida and Paraguay. Constructed from cedar and aluminum, the orchids will occupy a 4′ diameter by 8′ tall structure. Grow lights, a misting system, and a humidifier, will provide sustenance. An amalgam of imagery, video, and sound will surround the plants with a cultural context that draws from these diverse locations. Disney characters fuse with Paraguayan dictators, while capybara, manatee, tapir, and alligator coexist peacefully. Electronic timers will control the flow of light, establishing a diurnal rhythm. “Its a Small World” competes with Sepultura’s Brazilian Heavy Metal, and the Epcot center looms over the slums of Ciudad del Este. Together these elements will provide an appropriate nurturing environment so the orchids can thrive.
I create narrative, scale-model, sculptural dioramas that dramatize a conflict between figure and environment. In these artworks the protagonist, or figure, is engaged with “the other” as embodied by the landscape environment. The figure is in some way an average, banal, limited, unheroic, or compromised individual: be it a laborer, worker, average guy, a stoner, or a person with physical limitations.
Untitled (Exit) 2011
The environment contains an antagonistic element: something mysterious or intimidating that confronts or opposes the protagonist. In these situations, both players exist in timeless opposition – a perpetual face-off. Whether confronting each other, sizing each other up, unsure of the next move …
By investigating the diorama, the viewer is privileged in an ability to approach the sculpture from various perspectives. When assuming the view of either the protagonist or of the antagonist, additional information about the narrative is accessible.
These are some in-progress pictures of a sculpture I have been developing. The man is a gardener/maintenance person with a leafblower backpack. He is engaged in a standoff with a tree. The man is loaded with all the equipment he could ever need, and the tree looms before him.
The tree’s roots will create the structure of the ground underneath the leafblower man. As he stands there, all he sees is the above ground part of the tree, but the whole environment is actually defined by the tree and its roots. This way the tree both looms in front of him and is also hidden below him – as if it could tear open the ground he stands upon and swallow him in an instant. The ground plane also serves as a division between the known world, the conscious, and the subterranean world, the unconscious.
Stuff i still need to do includes surfacing the ground and developing the roots into a more massive tangle. Also the guy needs work…his equipment and gear is still under development.