• 2012
  • HD video, 16:9, colour, sound, 10`05``
  • Inv. 13IM61

Fernando José Pereira

The man who wanted to collect Time

Since more or less the start of this century, I have become increasingly fascinated by the now much more visible question of the temporalities imposed by what I have come to call ‘machine time,’ the time of the information society, the time of instantaneity.

In 2012, I carried out an artistic residency in a small town in the east of Iceland. An interesting feature of the place is that the artist Dieter Roth decided to live and work there during the 1970s, and it is thanks to this choice that it has developed until the present day as an ‘artistic’ town.

One of my first feelings on arrival there was a sense of a very prolonged, slow-moving time. Far removed from the frenzy of our cities.

An event from the past grabbed my attention: in 1995, an avalanche had destroyed the main factory in the town, a fishmeal processing factory.

The video is filmed in what remains of the factory. I met a Canadian actor who was living there at the time and who fitted in with the images I wanted to record.

An important point in understanding the video is the fact that ‘what remains of the factory,’ its ruins, were bought by two brothers in the days following its destruction. Not with the intention of restoring the factory or building something else, but of keeping it as a living memory of the occurrence. And it is still there today. I met the brothers and realised that it was their relationship with time that interested me. Among other delightful aspects, they invited me to visit their collection of cars (from the 1960s to at least 2012), which was the complete antithesis of what we think of when we hear the term collection: in their case, the cars were sitting on a vast expanse of ground, exposed to the elements (and we know the weather isn’t easy in Iceland) and in varying states of deterioration depending on the age and the length of time they had been there.

The video The man who wanted to collect Time was made with the brothers’ attitude in mind.

One final detail (which can be seen in the images): the ruins remained stable during the 17 years between the avalanche and the filming. However, while we were filming, a bad storm destroyed one of the only built elements still standing. This situation meant the project had to be changed and the final images already show the destroyed building, giving them a new metaphorical possibility which is, I hope, recognisable in the video.


Fernando José Pereira

October 2021


Type Acquisition
Date 8 November 2013
CAM in Motion
16 December 2021 to 3 January 2022
Shipping container installed in the Gulbenkian Garden
Updated on 13 december 2021

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