Around Time

How might we represent the varying perceptual rhythm of time as the light changes? Around Time explores this question by creating a physical artifact using an Arduino board, servo motors and photo-resistors.

Although time passes at a constant rate, the way we perceive it is another matter. People experience time differently depending on their emotional state, their physical environment, the activity they are pursuing, the people around them, and many other things. Around Time explores how light changes the perception of time and mimics it through a mechanism inspired by an hourglass.

The device is imagined as being kept indoors like in an office or a home. As the surrounding light gets brighter, time seems to accelerate eliciting joy or even excitement. The device represents this with faster harmonic motions of the servo motor, moving  the second hand. On the other hand, as it gets darker, time seems to become slower, thereby slowing down the harmonic motion and eliciting a calmer or even a duller mental state; reminiscent of twilight in the evenings.

The sound of the servo motors help the listener tune in to the rhythm of the perpetual clock face. In this way, the external sound and motion of the clock, redirect the listeners perception of time. By changing the location of the clock or changing the light in the room, one may explore different rhythms to evoke different experiences.

One of the major challenges of the course was to give a programmable circuit a tangible and meaningful form. By giving it a shape and function, the electronic circuit ceased to be a mesh of wires, but an object to which anyone could relate to.