Fragments of Time (February 2008)
”A stubbornly persistent illusion“ said Albert Einstein.
Starting from the irreversible past touching the evanescent present towards the unknown future, time flows resistless. Sometimes insufferably slow and yet fast that we barely cannot keep up with it. Boredom evokes in us the feeling of everlasting stagnation, again stress turns our perception of time into an experience of infinite speed. In our memory however it is in reverse: moments of boredom are shrinking into non-existence whereas active periods appear as expanded lifetime. Time seems to be everywhere but yet cannot be grasped.
The perception of time depends on the change of things which surround us. Everything that surrounds us seems to have its own property of time with its own isolated duration, rhythm and intensity. Taking this into account one might say that there is not only one big universal Time but many isolated fragments of Time simultaneously running next to each other: fragments of times, events and processes which run in parallel and together build a coherent network that we perceive in an emergent experience.
Some changes in things are more noticeable than others. Bruno Latour uses the notion of mediators and intermediaries to describe and differentiate between two opposite experiences, being either eventful or not. In the article "Trains of thought" Latour distinguishes between "mediators" and "intermediaries" by describing mediators as interruptive elements in one's "uneventful" journey through space and time, and intermediaries as support elements providing this continuous, smooth and "uneventful" temporal over spatial perception. The ratio between mediators and intermediaries results in a measureable temporal experience.
Considering the idea of measuring Time through the alignment of "intermediaries" and "mediators" - the fragments of time, events and processes which are materialized in obstacles, which Latour calls "other entities" - it brings a shift from numbers into something more meaningful. Carrying over this concept from Anthropology it provides the baseline for my Experience Design practice to motivate and control perceptive durations, rhythms and intensities of passing and static time from a single process into atmospherical experiences.