Work Time Calculator

With the Work-time calculator, we are making a visual comparison of how long you need to work in different countries to afford to buy the same thing. For example; how long do you have to work to be able to buy a fridge if you are from Japan, Australia, Denmark and the States?

The calculator shows the relationship between the amount of time you have work to get the money you need to buy the things you want. This varies in different countries according to price-levels and disposable income – we show the actual hours you as a person have to work to afford the object in question.

The papers on the desk and around him represent the time used, so when all they have finished working, the paper stacks show the exact amount of time being processed, making the end image of the paper stacks directly comparable.

Using a surveillance camera look and feel, we wanted to give the sensation of a window into the workers in the respective countries. The idea of making the visualisation into real film, came from the dataset itself. We were inspired to play on the literal aspect of how the data is being produced.

The Work Time Calculator should have an engaging aspect of racing; who finishes first, who finishes last? At the same time it should give exact indication of the time used by the respective countries. It gave some surprising results along the way, for instance, it was hard to believe that we have to work less to attain a fridge in Denmark than in France, but we saw a lot of surprises like that.

Making the paper stacks represent a precise amount of time, revealed a lot of issues with math in the action scripting. The data set we had, had such a big variety in time, i.e. it could take 96000 hours to work to be able to buy a car (96000 hours is the same as 66 days 66 hours and a lot of minutes) and only 5 minutes to buy a loaf of bread. Trying to compare these data-sets proved to be to difficult to script. Maybe it means that there should be classes of objects before you can make a precise comparison, i.e. household appliances, big luxury items, groceries etc.