The University of Michigan
Dolce far niente is an Italian phrase that translates to "the sweetness of doing nothing" or "delicious idleness".
This concept is quite a departure from our tendency in American culture to move rapidly through our day. We thrive on busy schedules, grab coffee cups to-go, and inhale meals that only take 4 minutes and 30 seconds to prepare. We have never-ending relationships with to-do lists, and the faster we move the more satisfied we feel. What gets lost in this rushed, continuously productive lifestyle is the chance to pause, and be completely conscious and indulgent in the present moment.
For The Time Being was designed to challenge our proclivity for frenetic and constant movement, and capture the essence of dolce far niente. The installation consisted of 300 spheres of ice, which melted over the course of a 7-hour exhibition.
The molecules in water move rapidly, chaotically, and constantly at room temperature, mimicking human behavior, but upon solidifying slow down to an incredible degree. Each sphere of ice not only slowed movement on a molecular level, but also within the minds of the audience as they paused to watch the ice melt, and indulged in the impermanence of a single moment.