Time is Art: Synchronicity and the Collective Dream (Review)

After the spiritually-sceptical, 9 to 5 rat-racer, American author Jennifer Palmer has a metaphysical experience during the passing of a loved one, she embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Yes, this may read like the blurb of a cheesy, pseudo-spiritual tele-movie. Yet “Time is Art” is anything but, representing a thought-provoking, mind-bending delve into notions of consciousness and reality.

Promoting a paradigm shift in our current sense of reality, Katy Walker and Joel Mejia’s documentary is a move away from the modern idiom of “time is money” to experiencing “time as art.” The documentary ebbs and flows between science and art, forming a world where creative expression affects broader consciousness and is valued more than materialism. 

Synchronicity is at the heart of Palmer’s self-discovery as she begins to notice numbers, patterns and hidden meaning within history, day-to-day life and artistic expression, and tries to explain these oddities. Originally coined by psychiatrist Carl Jung, synchronicity suggests that events with no causality are “meaningful coincidences.” Basically, there is an order in this disorder that we call existence.

The film’s title and theme that “Time is Art, not Money” was coined by late American author, artist and visionary Jose Arguelles. Challenging the artificial, linear and mechanical time constructs of our modern society (the Gregorian calendar and mechanical clock), Arguelles promoted the return to a time concept succinct with nature. Once adopting this ‘natural’ concept of time, we could realise that the principle function of humanity is the creative experience, not production and consumption.

Interestingly, the film is shaped in a way that reflects its philosophy. It is a non-linear cinematic journey, a meditative experience combining breathtaking scenes of forests, deserts and waterfalls with urban sprawls, stunning street art, science and space.


Palmer’s conversations with writers, artists, and philosophers span distances yet possess an overlapping interconnectedness in theory and spirit. Subjects discussed include dream work, ancient mysteries, cosmology, intuition, and inevitably finding meaning in a seemingly meaningless world.

“Time is Art” is not an ‘easy’ watch. If you want a cinematic escape, this is not your documentary. Unless you’re a seasoned philosopher, it will probably make your brain hurt. But  – like any great filmic experience – it forces its viewer to think, question and reflect. Foremost, it is a psychedelic delve into your own assumptions and notions of consciousness and reality.

At times Palmer’s journey feels a little like Western self-indulgence and idealism. Descriptions of hipster-paradise New York City as a destined “sacred place” might make you sigh, and discussions of paranormal crop circles will probably unleash the sceptic in many of us.

Yet “Time is Art” undoubtedly creates broader questions about the construction of the world-views through which one perceives reality. Highlighting that science and materialism is merely one of these world-views, the viewer is pushed to question all assumptions of experience.

You may not leave “Time is Art” enlightened, a Carl Jung convert, or a searcher of synchronicity in your life, but you will not leave it unshaken.

A notion of the film that sticks is that all mental anguish stems from projections of the future or memories of the past, but existing and connecting in the present moment brings one peace. Whilst such an endorsement of impermanence could be perceived as idealistic, it is undoubtedly needed in our fast-paced, deadline filled, disconnected yet technologically connected, often narcissistic and insular society.

Ultimately, “Time is Art” is a timely take on the human experience. Whether you believe that it is time for a shift in our collective consciousness or not, it will nevertheless have you questioning the meaning of your time, reality and all that you perceive.

After all, isn’t questioning existence and searching for meaning what the human condition is all about?

4 out of 5 Stars

Time is Art: Synchronicity and the Collective Dream will be screening in Perth, April 27th 6:30pm at Hoyts Cinemas (Fremantle)

Reserve tickets here: https://www.tugg.com/events/89941