The page opens with an exterior shot of a dirty, rundown older building on the streets of chicago. According to the neon signs in the windows, and the crusty banner overhead, this brown building houses a watch and clock repair shop called Time Keepers. You can make out another neon sign that reads Samuel Adumb in the same font as the beer company, as well as another that reads Burp Light. We are lead inside the building, which is chock-full of clocks of all shapes, sizes, and varieties. We see a large grandfather clock in the foreground, along with a music box clock on a glass table, and in the dark back corner of the shop we see Elk, our host, wearing clocksmith goggles working on something at a dingy, messy table. Here we see a close-up of Elk, where he is clearly working on some obscure clock part with some tiny tweezers. He is wearing a button-up shirt, and you can see his chest hairs and his stubble, so he looks a little dingy, too. Elk looks up surprised, eyes amplified in size by the goggles he's wearing that enhance his vision. The grandfather clock is now on our left, and on our right we see his large table lamp that features a globe-like clock at its base. The walls behind him are coated in even more clocks! Elk exclaims, with a little exclamation mark jumping up next to him, Oh! Sorry, I didn't see you there. In the next panel, Elk pulls up his goggles so you can see his goofy expression, and excitedly exclaims, Oh, wanna hear a dad joke?! Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana! Then, he whispers, pretty good right? In the next panel, Elk jumps up abruptly, chair screeching, slamming his hands on the table like a detective about to go rogue. His face is deadpan, and he asks the viewer, But seriously, though. What is time?? reads a speech bubble in the next panel, an extreme close-up where Elk has clocks for eyeballs with weird squiggly lines emanating from a his face. In a borderless panel, Elk is wearing a large red hat with a yellow star on it, which a tiny arrow pionting at him suggests he is dressed up in reference to a time mage from Final Fantasy. While brandishing his yellow wand that also has a star motif, he explains, Time is a feature of our universe, inseparable from matter. He continues, Just as an object can't have length without width, you can't have matter that exists outside of time. Pictured are a squiggly line running between two points, labelled one dimension, a plane or rectangular four-sided figure, labelled two dimensions, and a cube, labelled three dimensions. A text box reads, Some refer to time as the fourth dimension, since it works in tandem with the three dimensions we can see. The next text box reads,The veiw that time has a spatial component which comprises the fourth dimesnion is called... FOUR-DIMENSIONALISM, which is emblazoned in big squishy block letters. Here we see Elk dressed as a time mage again, with a disturbingly excited look on his face. He pronounces in a particularly bubbly speech bubble, I, my friends... dramatic pause... am a four-dimensionalist! With which he snaps his fingers, conjuring a hypercube in a cloud of sparkly pink smoke, with the sound effect POOF A text box reads, Western accounts of four-dimensionalism have roots in ancient greek thought. Many 19th-century four-dimensionalists cite Parmenides as their original inspiration. Pictured is a drawing of a bust of Parmenides, with the caption 5th century BCE. An arrow points at him, reading in small text, kind of a big deal. To his left we see a stone tablet that is inscribed with Greek-looking lettering. This reads, The all is one, unmoving and unchanging. The permanent amid the transient - that foothold for thought, that solid ground for feeling, on the discovery of which depends all our life - is no phantom; it is the image amidst deception of true being, the eternal, the unmoved, the one. The quote is attributed to Parmenides. Next is a replication of a portrait of an old, cute, bearded Chinese man, who is smiling. He is wearing a sort of leopard pelt over his robes, with a matching hat. It is apparently trying to recreate an old wood block print on rice paper. The accompanying text box reads, But even before Parmenides, in the 4th century BCE, Zhuang Zhou, next to Laozi one of the fathers of daosim, conceptualized the cosmos as yu-chou, or, literally space-time! Source: Librecht. Daoism as a worldview is suffused with relations of time and the self through time. And further, one of the six articles of faith in sunni Islam is al-wada wa l-qadar, which hinges on the belief in a preserved tablet that contains all of the history and future of the universe foreseen by Allah that exists outside of time. To the right, we see a golden, glowing tablet shooting light beams with a bunch of sparkles around it. Clearly, artistic license. Elk reappears, holding a book with a groovy cover that is called Speculations on the Fourth Dimension, Selected Writings of Charles Hinton. He says, Even the roots of modern mainstream four-dimensionalism are spiritually-inclined. Charles Hinton, in particular, was a big figure in the resurgence of four-dimensionalist thought in the mid-19th centure. He continues in another speech bubble, Even as a mathematician, not only did he retain the spiritual and cosmological implications of four-dimensionalism, they were central to his thinking! A text box reads, Hinton invented the tesseract, also known as a hypercube, a 4D cube that still titillates minds today. We see a portrait of Charles Hinton that looks like an old black-and-white photograph, and he is surrounded by floating tesseracts. He is labelled in old-timey lettering, Charles Hinton, 1853-1907. Elk appears as a rainbow tube with his head on one end and a ghostly after-image of his face on the other. He says, Hinton argues that consciousness itself exists as one timeless unity... and that any given moment is just a snapshop of this unity (page 125). He continues, The fourth dimension is this block of time, and consciousness is our 3-dimensional traversing of it. Pictured is a cube with a line running through it labeled you are here, circled by a squiggly line labeled whatever god's consciousness looks like. Elk continues, And our world line is suspended in the 4D block of god's consciousness, aka the cosmos. Elk is lying down having a cigarette, leaning on a cube. He looks wistful yet determined, saying, For Hinton, getting in touch with the fourth dimension is a way of knowing God themself through geometry. Pretty groovy. Next, we see Elk but drawn with certain elements repeated, like three noses, two mouths; he looks sort of like a Picasso. He says, In the early 1900s, the explosion of Einstein's theory of relativity - along with the work of mathematician Hermann Minkowski - revealed 4-d spacetime as the shape of the universe, which created a ripple effect where all of Europe was obsessed with the fourth dimension. Pictured are three books suspended in space, with a mobile sculpture drawn in the center. The upper book's title is MATTA & the Fourth Dimension and has a very abstract painted cover, the book on the right which has a crazy black and white spiral cover, reads DIMENSIONISM: Modern Art in the Age of Einstein, and the book on the bottom right reads The Fourth Dimension and Non-Euclidean Geometry in Modern Art, and has a cubist cover. A text box continues, Europe in the 1900's was a hotbet for cubist, futurist, surrealist, and abstract expressionist art about the fourth dimension! Including Pablo Picasso, Jean Metzinger, Joan Miro, Salvador Dali, Roberto Matta, Jackson Pollock, Alexander Calder... But why? What about art helps us with understanding the fourth dimension? The final panel features a large drawing of Elk, with one eyebrow raised, his arms crossed, and his mouth hanging wide open, skeptically. He asks, And, what made it fall out of fashion? Now the fourth dimension is seen as some corny, esoteric magic-eye hooey sold to kids, or squawked about by astral-projecting, crystal-wearing long-hairs! Then, aside: Well, I'm not gonna lie and say this stuff isn't esoteric... But it is real! And useful! So read on.


©Elk Paauw