We reconfigure spacetime events to highlight some very deep rooted assumptions about the size of human experiences. Our surrealistic clocks flow to the rhythms of traditional, Newtonian time as well as two other time systems, Tresleyan and Decimal.
Newtonian time is the time system we’re most familiar with. The day is divided into 24 hours, each hour into 60 minutes and each minute into 60 seconds.
Decimal Time is most closely associated with China and France. China has used it for a long time and the French introduced it during the French Revolution in the 1790s (but it only lasted a year.) It’s based on the decimal system and divides the day into 10 decimal hours, each decimal hour into 100 decimal minutes and each decimal minute into 100 decimal seconds. Here's how it looks.
Tresleyan Time is a variation on Decimal Time. It divides the day into 30 Warbles, each Warble into 30 Sleumans and each Sleuman into 30 Meenches. Here's how it looks.
Trying to read one of those other times is an experience in how much we take for granted about time. If we used a different system, our lunch "hour" would be a different length. TV shows and newscasts would have different durations. Business meetings, church services and other social events would be shorter or longer. What else would they include or what would be eliminated from them? Things would be very different with a different sized congnitive chunk!
At first, Tresleyan and Decimal Times make people laugh, and then sometimes it makes them think. This is all very playful, but it’s also serious.
By asking what other time systems are possible, we see how our current system shapes and shackles us. These different time systems are constant reminders that time is an archetype and not some sort of solid fact. Seconds, minutes and hours are completely made up.
