Time is commonly conceptualized using numbers and symbols, but in actuality it is a constantly changing subjective interpolation. This piece first presents viewers with an uninterrupted string of numbers. Only when the onlooker realizes that the last digits are seconds that are ticking away and that the other numbers signify the date and time, will they realize that they are, in fact, looking at a clock. On this clock, rather than with indicators, such as colons or am/ pm notations, time is shown as plain numbers. In this case, the year, date, and time, are all placed evenly across the display panel. The goal of this induced confusion is to convey to the viewer that we perceive as “time” is merely an assortment of numbers. These numbers only retain significance through their social implications, but on their own have no true value. “Time” therefore, as we commonly refer to, is just a socially construct to help the perceptual concept of time maintain a tangible order. Consequentially, numbers alone cannot truly represent the experience of time with all of its subjectivity and inherent variety in individual experience. Through this timepiece, ideally, onlookers will be able to grasp an understanding between the disconnect of “time” and numbers attempting to describe “time.” Furthermore, this clock can also be configured to explore more abstract concepts, like the number of seconds since the Big Bang, or the time elapsed since one’s birth, among other concepts.
In order to create the desired from factor and functionality, this timepiece was created using an array of iPhone screens and a treated steel bezel. Originally, I sought to find a single display which would be wide enough to accommodate my concept, but unable to find such a screen, I turned to portable devices. After measuring out several tablets and phones and weighing the cost versus outcome, I came to the conclusion that iPhones would yield the best result. Next, I created the font and the webpage, making a website using HTML5 and jQuery. Visually, I wanted the clock to have a timelessness to it, almost as if it were a natural object that had existed since the beginning of time, tucked away hidden in a cave, yet undiscovered. In order to achieve this look I designed the numbers as such and had the steel bezel treated to give it an worn, yet resilient presence. In the end, a successful functioning prototype was created which is wall mountable, works remotely, or can be plugged in. [Winter 2013]