The Chronographer’s Workshop


Building alternate worlds and their unique chronographs

Project Details

Mentor : Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby
Role : Speculative Designer
Timeline : 4 months | 2019
Keywords : Speculative Design, Alternate Futures


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Can we reimagine our time structures?

Time is not a natural concept. It is an artificial concept we have constructed. So perhaps it can be deconstructed, reconstructed afresh. The Chronographer's workshop is a pursuit to unlearn our sense of time and learn new ways of perceiving time.

These chronographs are just as ridiculous as the clocks we have.


 
An early blueprint of the Chronographer’s Workshop

An early blueprint of the Chronographer’s Workshop

 

The Chronographer's workshop was established in response to globally syncronised and almost flattened time. It is a research and curatorial platform engaged in theoretical reflection and creative experimentation that investigates the loss of time pluralism. Artefacts and experiments performed in the workshop
aim to sensitize citizens to more divergent senses of time. Different chronographs promote alternative ways of creating, managing and preserving time.

In this workshop, time exists. In fact, it gives everything its existence, but it does not tick.


 
 

This particular chronograph is for time 'felt'. The individual sets the rhythm for the chronograph rather than the other way around. Instead of rocking to the regularity of minutes, the chronograph responds to the whimsical heartbeat of its viewer. It was installed in large public squares where everyone could contribute to the emergent 'sense of time'. Because time didn't get measured there, it didn't get monitored. Instead, it measured the pace at which they encounter the world. Instead of reading time in numbers, they simply experienced it - embedded in the surrounding spaces, artefacts. Probably that's why they always seemed to know 'the time' until someone asked them what time it was.

Every now and then, they gather to watch their collective time, to nurture a sense of time together

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A breathing chronograph that changes and shifts in accordance with the people surround it

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“In this world, it is instantly obvious that something is odd. No houses can be seen in the valleys or plains. Everyone lives in the mountains. At some time in the past, scientists discovered that time flows more slowly the farther from the center of earth. The effect is minuscule, but it can be measured with extremely sensitive instruments.”

Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

Where time flows slower on the mountains and higher altitudes mean a few more seconds

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People of this world believe moving to the mountains will slow the aging process. Some build their houses on tall stilts; the height of their stilts is a status symbol that reveal how much closer they are to living longer than the people below them. Because they believe living at a higher altitude buys them a few more seconds of time, people arrange their lives to maximize those seconds. They used these chronographs to measure those precious few gained seconds.


An incomplete chronograph

An incomplete chronograph

Making the mechanical parts

Making the mechanical parts

A chronograph that envelopes

A chronograph that envelopes

A thread to pull/ push the structure

A thread to pull/ push the structure

Using hard and soft material

Using hard and soft material

Adding the servo motors for multiplicity

Adding the servo motors for multiplicity

Making mechanical parts

Making mechanical parts

Connecting to the Arduino board

Connecting to the Arduino board

Exploring and iterating on different chronographs through making


TIME PLURALISM

“All technology and all economy are fundamentally in one great struggle to combat the scarcity of time.”
The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith

Time is viewed as a linear, limited resource to be extracted in order to produce value in the capitalist society. Speed is the catalyst that can produce maximum value in minimum time resource. However, time is not a natural concept. It is a concept constructed entirely by man. And that concept is diverse. Yet we follow a singular dominant narrative about time that is capitalist in approach.

In these alternate worlds, different sense of time exists. That in turn affects how people live while reimagining our relationship with time. This is a call for divergent temporal definitions to establish healthy time pluralism to generate diverse values that go beyond mere efficiency.