Good Morning. How Do We Measure Time?

Installation // Vitamin C, Water // 2015 // Utrecht, the Netherlands

Photo: YiLing Hung
In this project I try to question how the time is experienced. We are used to the “standardised” time counting units in our daily life, such as seconds, minutes, days and years. But these units are also created by people, or I should say agreed by most of the countries in our current world. In the past when the time unit was not yet standardised, each culture around the world had their own way in measuring the time. Take ancient China for example, there is no “minute”, one unit of time is as long as “15 minutes”.

Furthermore experiencing time is more than just counting the time units. It is a physical experience and should be expressed as a relative perception. When you are in a rush, the time for making a coffee feels longer than when you are on vacation. Since the experience of time is a relative perception, which means it is subjective. Can we then replace the standard time units by our own choice when communicating the experience of time with another person?

In this project, I create an installation that the melting of a Vitamin C tablet becomes the unit of time. I invite people to experience this one Vitamin C time first and then I interview each of them about how do that feel about the passing of time? Was it slow? Was it fast? How long (How many “standard minutes”) do they think they’ve experienced?