What captures my interest is the tenuous connections between all the different process, particularly attempting to decouple time from the other dimensions and seeing what can come from *not* treating as if it were special. Of course, it is different in that most (if not all?) originating sampling devices by their physical mechanism will treat it differently, but you know ... who knows might come from it.

In terms of conventional theoretical physics (ie. mathematics) time and space are bound together in terms of a single SpaceTime Continuum - a four dimensional frame of reference in which Relativity Theory governs the structural relationship between the parts. Newer frameworks (such as String Theory) extend this idea into more dimensions but its still basically the same idea - an homogenous consistent mathematical (or geometrical) structure.

In other words time is already treated as not special. Its effectively been converted into another dimension of space (or of geometry). Homogenity. Consistency. A Theory of Everything approach.

However, in terms of cinema, this is actually the problem. Cinematic time differs from abstract time insofar as cinema time is something an audience experiences. It takes actual time (experiential time) to watch a film. But in abstract spatialised time this otherwise experiential time is expressed geometrically and as a result there is no sense of experiential time - its as if the past, present and future all co-existed at once - all at the same time.

And indeed, when one looks at a roll of film, or a hard drive, the experiential time of any cinema encoded in such has been spatialised. The past, present and future is arranged along the length of the filmstrip, or across spatially separate bytes of memory on disc, or in solid state memory. Co-existing.

This is not necessarily the best way to understand time. In this state the time is locked up. Encrypted, giving rise to fantasies of Time Travel.

An alternative conception of time, which the cinema understands, is to de-spatialise this time - to restore or otherwise decrypt this locked up time. To create time. Or recreate it - the time it takes to watch a film. Or the micro-time between one frame and another. But as experienced rather than as it is arranged in a film strip or in bytes, or along the timeline of an NLE.

This is one of cinema's secrets - that it provides us with a concept of time very different from mathematical time. In other words it gives us a concept of time as something that *is* special rather than not so.

The hard part is that this special time doesn't lend itself so well to mathematical treatment. Its as if we have no choice, from a computational mathematical point of view, to use a spatialised version of time. However the solution is to ensure that while one might work in terms of spatialised time, and all that entails, one can transform the results of such work back into time proper through the simple act of doing what the cinema does (or music) and that is to perform the work - or run the program.

It is what we otherwise call "real time" or "run time" in programmer's speak.

Special time.

C