In an Iridescent Time

In An Iridescent Time is a kinetic sculpture that portrays the relationship between time and the perspective of observing it.

“Time” is the most frequently used noun in the English language. We talk about time every day, yet know very little about time. Is it linear? Is it absolute and constantly running out? Is it an illusion? Influenced by The Merchant and the Alchemist Gate by Ted Chiang and Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman, In An Iridescent Time is inspired by the concept that people lead different lifestyles due to different perceptions of time and explores this idea by inviting the viewer to observe and experience time in their own way. 


In An Iridescent Time uses prisms as a medium to visually illustrate the progression of time and the different interpretations of its passage. There are five gears, each with a different number of teeth; a prism hangs from each gear, its movement dictated by both the rotation of the gears and the pendulum motion created by this rotation. Since the mathematical relationship between the number of teeth of a gear is designed to be relatively prime (where the common divisor between each gear’s number of teeth is 1), the prisms’ positions will not repeat for another hundred years. Furthermore, the pendulum motion produced by the rotation of the gears adds randomness to each prism’s position. The audience is invited to use flashlights on the prisms to observe the resulting distinct light patterns.


In this project, both time and light are experienced intangibly with time symbolically translated into iridescent light. The prisms rotate relentlessly, yet unrepeating, for a lifetime, leaving different traces for different people observing it. 


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