Visual Artist

Time is What Happens When Nothing Else Does


Ella Bertilsson and Ulla Juske

Audio installation in a security men’s hut, 16 min duration, 2015.


Commissioned by the RHA (Royal Hibernian Academy) and OPW (Open Public Works)


Time is what happens when nothing else does is a narrative-driven installation meditating on sentinels and solitude, based on numerous conversations with security men and attendants around Dublin.

The visitor approaches the hut that is now unmanned.Once inside the viewer is positioned to look out on the street view. Under the window there is a sound bar simultaneously playing out the audio-piece without a beginning nor an end.

By observing and listening; the visitor experiences the prolonged passage of time in the same way as a security man or woman might do during a working shift. The narrative gives a glimpse into thoughts and reflections of the people the artists has spoken to.

“I think we are all people watchers. Why do we watch people? Maybe we are trying to discover more about ourselves.” Excerpt from audio script.

‘Titled Time is what happens when nothing else does, the artwork is a meditation on surviving a job that necessitates waiting and standing still while civilisation works, rests and plays. More generally, we are forced to think (if not exactly experience) notions of waiting and boredom, class and exclusion, being and Time. A person who practices mindfulness would be annoyingly content in here’ (BillionJournal, December, 2015).

James Merrigan’ s review in Billion Journal