Split-Second Timing explores various ways of modelling the
trajectory of techno-capitalist modernity, as it is exemplified
by the accelerating subdivision of time. It retraces the
decimal zoom into time, following the intertwining runaway
curves of chronometric exactitude and informatic processing
speeds, from the earliest mechanical clocks into fantastic
micro-fragmentations of the second.
is envisaged as a multimedia (half-hour) presentation, combining
read text with audio and video recordings. It is divided
into three basic sections.
1. Flight from Babylon.
the massively predominant time-system of modern societies,
the time-scale between the hour and the second is still
ordered by the mysterious sexigesimal number system gestated
by the Sumero-Babylonian civilizations. This system - incarnated
in the visible pulsations of clocks and watches - divides
the hour into 3600 seconds, in accordance with a modular
alternation beween ten and six. Beyond this threshold, the
semiotic of time is transmuted by a decimalizing explosion
of technoscientific precision. The time of capitalist modernity
is less a moment in history than a scale of duration, beginning
with the split-second, and zooming.
2. Capitalist speed-explosion.
runaway - or cybernetic autostimulation - is modelled by
various nonlinear, exponential, or explosive curves, of
which the most widely familiar is that of the eighteen-month
"doubling-period," proposed in Moore"s historical "law"
of microprocessor development. In fact Moore"s Law only
partially captures the contemporary speed-syndrome (measured
in hertz = cycle/sec): a machinic intensification of time.
Ever since the splitting of the second, chronometric exactitudes
and rates of machinic activation have been interlinked within
an explosive dynamic, one in which doubling periods are
themselves compressing. Processes such as these pass through
3. Interface time-anamolies.
neuroelectronic-synthesis encounters the problem of time-consistency.
How to span the distance between the spiking-rate of an
excited neuron (approx. 100Hz) and the (multi-gigahertz)
pulsation rate of digital machines? True biomechanical fusion
would require a radical mutation in the threshold of "human"
time perception (currently lagging behind machine-acuity
by about eight decimal places). Interface time-zooming becomes
a technocultural destiny, a fatal voyage into time.