Million Year Clock
Setting: Rhode Island School of Design | Design Studio I
Work Time: 1 Week
Question: Does design imply the idea of products that are necessarily useful?
The initial objective of this exercise was to take a utilitarian form of design such as an app, calendar, poster, publication, sign, website, or interface and analyze the format’s common functions and its assumed interactions. This involved Research of historical and everyday examples and looking at variations from different cultures, in scale, in location. Next, the goal was to make a new useless version of your chosen format, to abstract it, edit it, reverse it, alter its message, subtract from it, add to it, slow it down.
I was most interested in my research about the evolution and form of clocks, specifically historical time-keeping devices which depend on natural phenomena. Candle clocks, incense clocks, and sundials are fascinating in their unreliability, explicating the relativity of time. As such, I made a clock that focuses on the notion of biodegradation. Looking up different biodegradable materials, I landed on using glass because it takes (roughly) one million years to decompose naturally. Given this, I designed a prototypical, spherical clock with packaging and instructions for "use".