MATR: Mobile Apparatus for Temporality Research + Time Drills
June 26 – September 5, 2009
Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, NE (Curated by Hesse McGraw)


MATR asks the seemingly simple question: How do we sense time? We have materials and systems with half-lives in the tens of thousands and even millions of years, but do not have the conceptual tools to deal with the new landscape of time. Over centuries we have come to terms with face-to-face interactions, short time spans and discrete entities, but now, in a world of complex systems that evolve over great distances and time scales, these tools are failing us. The first critical step in re-conceptualizing time for the 21st century is to recognize that time is not only a form of quantitative measure; it is not simply “clock time”. Time, across many scales and speeds, is more than one event following another. It is qualitative transformation. Our current inability to conceive of and engage with qualitative time impedes our new relations with everything from ecologies, to advanced technologies, to emerging forms of government. Our crisis today is not climate change, nor nuclear waste — but time itself. We need a new way of tuning towards the feelings and sensations of change.


The project consists of two distinct parts: a series of gallery based exercises titled, TIME DRILLS, and a shipping container that contains a research space titled, MATR. MATR (Mobile Apparatus for Temporality Research) is designed as a new tool kit for 21st century citizenry. Its contents expand tactically across the Bemis Center’s grounds, operating as an assemblage of work areas, libraries, long-term experiments, and visualization/sensory tools that might re-habituate our correlations with time and re-situate us across the entangled fields and processes of mind, body and world.


As part of this exhibit, spurse gave an opening presentation, a gallery talk, “Curling Time”; workshops, “Time Drills and Temporary Games”; and created a self-guided set of exercises, “Time Drills”; report forms; an interactive website,; an interactive multi-page insert in “Art Journal” (Winter 09-10, College Art Association Journal); and an on-demand book, also titled, “Time Drills”.


College Art Association
Grand Arts


“MATR of time: Bemis exhibit says future hangs on how we spend it” (Omaha City Weekly, August 12-18, 2009).

Buy It!

Our “Time Drills” series of exercises is available for purchase.

“’MATR’ could challenge one’s understanding of what art is, although that is not [spurse’s] primary purpose. The collective is a means of exploring and instigating urgent and broad issues. The exercises are an immediate way for someone to connect with ‘MATR’ physically, intellectually..." - Hesse McGraw, in Michael J. Krainak, "MATR of Time: Bemis Exhibit Says Future Hangs on How We Spend It", Omaha City Weekly