The factor time is built into machines at different levels of their hard- and software: the rhythm of the steam engine, the speed of the mechanical loom or of a conveyor belt, the ticking of the clockwork - these and similar machines have to be accurately time-coordinated in order to work properly. The speed of the machine has to be adapted to the speed of human perception, so that events and representations at the human-machine interface can be comprehended and directed by a human user. The performance of the machine has to be synchronised with the cognitive performance of the user. The synchronisation of both speeds is experienced as 'Realtime'.
The Belgrade philosopher Velimir Abramovic argues that synchronisation lies at the basis of all physical systems. He pleads for a 'New Ontology of Time', wherein time is to be viewed as a universal force affecting all dynamic processes. The problem with contemporary science is that physics is not considered as an ontological science, while an understanding of the properties and essence of time, lie at the basis of our technological society. It was the Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla (1856-1943), the inventor of AC, who first practised an engineering, or rather a mathematics, of time.
In the sound sculpture The Edison Effect by American sound artist Paul DeMarinis, old gramophone records, wax cylinders and holograms are scanned with lasers to produce faint music. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), best known as the inventor of the light bulb, was perceived as a charlatan in the scientific community. His discovery of sound recording and invention of the phonograph significantly affected our sense of time. With the phonograph Edison created a mechanical model not for hearing, but of remembering.
In collaboration with the V2_lab Dutch artist Geert Mul developed the Epic Generator: a software project enabling the user to experiment with and explore forms of narration made possible through the use of digital media. The software allows you to create interactive works that structure video material in real-time; the work is constructed while you are watching it. Geert Mul turned the dial of this Wiretap excursion into time experimentation and speculation by demonstrating his work with realtime video.
Nikola Tesla, Inventor
Nikola Tesla: inventor, engineer, scientist
Paul DeMarinis: Gray Area
Thomas Alva Edison exhibit
Edison's Home Page