Unstill Life (Hyperfuture series)

Nicole Lasquety
3 min readJan 29, 2024
"Unstill Life", Nicole Lasquety, Oil on canvas, 18" x 24", 2024

“The best thing about a picture is that it never changes, even when the people in it do”, Andy Warhol once said. I don’t normally think much of the pictures I take, I don’t treat them the way I do with art. Unlike art, I don’t write about photographs. Warhol’s line was something I observe more when I look at art. I thought about the art I used to dislike and found unrelatable only to change my mind after some time and learn to appreciate it. I wonder then if there is a hierarchy of art mediums that capture the truth best and if I should start to think about photography differently. A hyperrealistic painting may be as good as a photograph but that says nothing about the abstract emotions they convey. A stick figure is not true to life but it can tell a story. Photojournalism can strip the romanticism that a painting can give it and show things for what they are.

Janos Delacruz once said, “You can lie through a painting. Your strokes don’t have to be perfect. You can always paint over it. But your lines have to be precise in a drawing”. You’d think it should be the opposite. Learning to paint comes after learning how to draw. But there’s truth in what he said, because drawing teaches you composition and perspective. I wonder then how much honesty a photograph can hold. We smile in front of a camera almost reflexively because it’s what you do.

If this picture were a film still, it captures a non-scene, a non-event. It captures nothing and many things that you won’t read just by looking at the picture. Freeze frame. Timestamp. Archive. Overwriting my memories was out of the question. I found that even my wildest fantasies were incapable of doing that.

Like a picture that never changes.

Everything else was happening too fast and I just wanted things to be back to the way they were before life threw a curveball, almost like how I sat still against the backdrop of light blurs in busy traffic–motion without change, acceleration without progress, stillness without stability, uniformity without permanence, retrospective without reflection, nostalgia without the tenderness of sentimentality, my refusal to part with familiarity against my amnesia. It’s not what we normally associate with time.

And yet, I thought about the answer to making up for lost time in a different quality of time: time dilation, in special relativity, “is the 'slowing down' of a clock as seen by an observer in relative motion with respect to that clock.” It seems counter-intuitive. We are told to slow down so as not to let life pass you by. But I see this picture where I was waiting, and more than waiting to get home and call it a day, I was waiting for what I didn’t know, waiting for something good to happen in the story where I am denied redemption, consolation, or at the very least, closure that I thought I deserved. Waiting did not change that.

About the series:
Hyperfuture is a philosophical dive into what physics tells us about time. Hyperfuture is defined as “a space-time block, distinct from ours, situated in an additional temporal dimension: hypertime”. Taking from the quote, “to be conscious at all is to be conscious of time”, it explores the theme of clairvoyance, free will, chronoception, and time dilation in relation to how we create meaning of our ephemeral existence on earth. The series features works in realism, referencing actual scenes from life, and surrealism to depict the subconscious to explore whether time-a construct-works independently of consciousness. One symbol will be highlighted: the hypercube or tesseract which shows the fourth dimension which is time.

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Nicole Lasquety

A visual artist and writer with a passion for media exploration, where big ideas are commonplace. Art, theater, personal essays. lasquetynicole@gmail.com