Liberating Clocks: Rethinking the potential of clock-time for social life

Bastian, Michelle

The paper draws on work from continental philosophy, art and design to discuss the future of clocks in social life. Starting with a recognition of the way that maps have been widely taken up as creative and critical tools, I ask whether clocks might also be made more open to experimentation and redesign. In art, literature and elsewhere, clocks have primarily served as symbols of oppression. While in continental philosophy, an area that is often seen as a key resource for those looking to understand the 'time of our lives', clocks are often dismissed summarily as being outside the sphere of concern. In response to this I draw together a range of examples of artists, designers and activists who are using clocks in unexpected ways. Indeed we can see them turning to the clock as a useful way of intervening into social, ethical, political and environmental issues. Drawing on work around 'temporal design' which has been developed with designers Larissa Pschetz and Chris Speed, this paper concludes with a cautiously curious take on the possibility of 'liberating clocks'.

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