19 March 2014
10:00 – 16:15
Royal College of Art (Darwin Building)
Lecture Theatre 1
As part of the School of Design's contribution to the RCA's Research Methods Course, we present a symposium dedicated to Time and Design.
Time is the universal metric, a context for every object, life, event, alteration - but how do we design with time? What should time look like, how do we perceive it and how does it feed into how we live, act and remember? The symposium will set out historical, conceptual and cognitive problems that beset thinking about time, featuring the following speakers from the areas of psychology, history, engineering and design:
Claudia Hammond is an award-winning broadcaster, writer and psychology lecturer and the presenter of All in the Mind on BBC Radio 4, as well as programmes on BBC World Service and BBC World News TV. She is the author of the book “Time Warped” in which she delves into the mysteries of time perception. In her talk she shows how malleable our experience of time is and which factors influence how we perceive time.
Siân Lindley is part of the Socio-Digital Systems group at Microsoft Research, where she studies technologies in use and the practices that are built up around them. Siân presents two of her projects on using digital timelines for narrating personal histories, which yield unexpected insights into how representations of time shape our retelling of the past.
Matthew Shaw’s research in the history of the French Revolution, which he developed from his PhD into a major book, sheds light on perhaps one of the boldest reforms undertaken in Revolutionary France: the redesign of time itself. For almost a decade the French calendar had not only its own months and years but also decimalised hours and minutes.
John Taylor’s most ubiquitous invention has probably been used by anyone who ever switched on a kettle. However, it is his work on clocks that most captivates him. Turned inside out and controlled by a giant time-devouring mechanical creature, John’s Corpus clock required two hundred engineers, scientists and craftsmen, five years of his time, one million pounds and one Stephen Hawking for its unveiling on the wall of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge University.
Peter Bennett introduces physicality in how we interact with computers through his research on Tangible Interfaces at the Bristol Interaction & Graphics Lab. A physical interface for time however proved to be problematic. Is time flexible or solid? Is time a single object or many? Is time a line, circle, spiral or even a shape at all? It is this ambiguous nature of how time can be physically represented and controlled that Peter explores in his work.
If you are from outside the RCA and plan to attend, please email email@example.com to let us know. Entrance is from Jay Mews.
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Friday, 6 December 2013
I just learned of an interesting AHRC-funded project on the use of pneumatic technology in Paris between 1880 and 1927 to convey standard time throughout the city.
I quote from the minimal blog created for the project so far:
Time was in the air in major nineteenth-century western cities, where an increasing temporal awareness was coupled with a growing demand for precision in time measurement and display. But Paris stood out amongst her contemporaries; time there was indeed in the air, in compressed form, under the ground, surfacing, each minute, in public spaces and private residences to make the clock hand move. Between 1880-1927, time was pumped throughout Paris using a network of pneumatic tubes, which not only took standard time to the city’s public clocks, but also to its citizens’ homes, connecting them to the public time regime.
This AHRC-funded project, led by Dr Mustafa Dikec (Principal Investigator) and Dr Carlos Lopez Galviz (Postdoctoral Research Assistant), looks into the dynamics and transformation of pneumatic time by reference to four inter-related themes: production, distribution, consumption and representation. Our idea is visually to explore the questions guiding the project through the images contained in each theme (see tabs at the top of his Wordpress blog).
There is a bit more here about Dr Mustafa Dikec.
Posted by StephenBD at 11:25
Monday, 30 September 2013
The paper I wrote with Emma Bevan and Aleksei Kudikov for EVA 2012 was chosen for a book of the best of EVA papers from four years of the conference:
Boyd Davis, S., Bevan, E. and Kudikov, A. Just In Time: defining historical chronographics. In: Jonathan Bowen, Suzanne Keene, Kia Ng (eds.) Electronic Visualisation in Arts and Culture. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4471-5405-1. 243-257.I received my copy of the book today, and it looks good. Springer decided to use colour illustrations throughout which does make a big difference. The book is available here:
|Click to go to Springer site|
The EVA London Conference 1990–2012: Personal Reflections.
Part I – Imaging and Culture.
- From Descriptions to Duplicates to Data.
- Quantifying Culture: Four Types of Value in Visualisation.
- Embodied Airborne Imagery: Low-Altitude Cinematic Urban Topography.
- Back to Paper? An Alternative Approach to Conserving Digital Images into the 23rd Century.
- Light Years: Jurassic Coast – An Immersive 3D Landscape Project.
- Photography as a Tool of Alienation: Aura.
- Fugue and Variations on some Themes in Art and Science.
- Motion Studies: The Art and Science of Bird Flight.
- Game Catcher: Visualising and Preserving Ephemeral Movement for Research and Analysis.
- mConduct: A Multi-Sensor Interface for the Capture and Analysis of Conducting Gesture.
- Photocaligraphy: Writing Sign Language.
- Mobile Motion: Multimodal Device Augmentation for Musical Applications.
- Legal Networks: Visualising the Violence of the Law.
- Face, Portrait, Mask: Using a Parameterised System to Explore Synthetic Face Space.
- Facebook as a Tool for Artistic Collaboration.
- Just in Time: Defining Historical Chronographics.
- Beckford’s Ride: The Reconstruction of Historic Landscape.
- Reconfiguring Experimental Archaeology Using 3D Reconstruction.
Posted by StephenBD at 15:02
Sunday, 29 September 2013
|A hanging at Newgate prison (from Wikipedia)|
An item in a television programme the other day alerted me to one of these strange overlaps.
Londoners travelled on the underground to see the city's last public hanging.Yes, the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway, opened on 9 January 1863 using gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives, while William Calcraft carried out the last public execution in England five years later, on 26 May 1868, when he hanged Michael Barrett in front of Newgate Prison for his part in the 'Clerkenwell Outrage'.
*An interesting writer on these tendencies in our thinking is Eviatar Zerubavel, professor of sociology at Rutgers University. See his 2003 book:
Friday, 27 September 2013
Florian and I developed a short paper that Florian then gave at a workshop of the CHI 2013 conference in Paris, 27 April - 2 May 2013. The call began:
In this hands-on workshop, we invite HCI [Human Computer Interaction] researchers, designers and innovators to engage with the concept of time. Time is often taken for granted in HCI, yet engaging with the assumptions that underpin it could provide a resource for research and technology innovation.We used a mix of material to create a brief argument for using historic time-visualisation as an effective way to undermine assumptions and to provide alternative ways of thinking how time can be conceived and represented.
The call from November 2012 is here and our short paper is here.
Posted by StephenBD at 04:37
Wednesday, 25 September 2013
'If an idea bear any relation to quantity of any kind' - devising and printing historical time in the eighteenth centuryIt is at All Souls College. Here is a version of the call for papers.
The early eighteenth century saw the earliest 'mathematical' representations of historical time, particularly in France by Barbeau de la Bruyère (1710-1781) and Barbeu du Bourg (1709-1779), and in England by Joseph Priestley (1733-1804), whose phrase is quoted in the title.
The significance for mathematics lies in the model of chronology employed, derived from the concepts of number and of time advocated by Descartes and Newton. Previous representations offered by Eusebius and Scaliger, among many others, had sought to capture the entire chronology of the world, but only as lists or tables: history as an accretion of events. Now such events were conceived in a quasi-spatial, measurable continuum, and presented as such graphically.
The significance relative to printing lies in the techniques for these early 'data visualisations', a shift from letterpress to engraving in a truly spatial layout enabling patterns, clusters, outliers and lacunae to be shown for the first time. Anticipating later practice in quantitative visualisation, metaphorical, pictorial conceits began to be stripped away, but metaphor of course was never completely absent, and the paper will highlight the contribution of mapmaking as both metaphor and technique.
Questions arising include the affordability of paper, concern with imprecision and error, tension between rhetorical and mechanical approaches to knowledge, and the issue of orientation: if time is mapped to rectilinear space, which axis should represent time? In a recent publication, Stephen showed that for Barbeu du Bourg and Priestley - and as far back as Oresme (c.1320-1382) - this issue of orientation troubled graphical inventors.
Provisional programme, added 29 September 2013
Authors and readers
- Richard J. Oosterhoff, Notre Dame: "Printing Proofs in Paris c. 1500: Communal Authorship, the Typography of Enunciations, and the Point of Demonstration".
- Leo Rogers, Oxford: “Printing Mathematical Texts in England in the 16th Century”.
- Katherine Hunt, Birkbeck: tba.
- Dagmar Mrozik, Wuppertal: "Mathematical authorship and its display in the Society of Jesus: Between individual and Jesuit".
- Gregg De Young, The American University in Cairo: "Early printing of mathematics in Arabic".
- Renae Satterley, the Middle Temple Library: "Robert Ashley (1565–1641): collecting and using mathematical books at the Middle Temple"
- Tabitha Tuckett, London: tba.
- Renzo Baldasso, Arizona: "The Technical Dimension of Early Printed Mathematical Diagrams, 1474–1482".
- Stephen Boyd Davis, Royal College of Art: "'If an idea bear any relation to quantity of any kind' - devising and printing historical time in the eighteenth century".
- Matthew Eddy, Durham: "Appropriation or Invention? Chemistry, Ratios and the Visual Anthropology of Matter".
- Robin Rider, Wisconsin: "The power of negative space: 18th-century French mathematics in print".
- Travis Williams, Rhode Island: "Managing Notational White in Early Modern Printed Mathematics".
- Alex Marr, Cambridge: "The Aesthetics of Early-Modern Printed Mathematical Instruments".
- David Bellhouse, Western Ontario: "Errors in mathematical tables".
- Richard Kremer, Dartmouth: "On Printing 'Meaningless' Numbers, or Controlling Errors in Incunable Astronomical Tables".
- Benjamin Wardhaugh, Oxford: "Error and its handling in Georgian mathematics books".
Posted by StephenBD at 14:03
I have sadly been distracted by my proper job at the RCA - too busy to blog. This is a quick summary of recent activities before I get pulled away again.
- Florian Kräutli, EPSRC research student, has been doing a great job. Activities include:
- We wrote a joint paper for a workshop at CHI 2013, the big annual Human Computer Interaction conference: Boyd Davis, S. and Kräutli, F. Time in Perspective: a visual approach to models of time. Workshop: Changing Perspectives of Time in HCI. CHI 2013, Palais de Congrès de Paris, Paris, 27th April - 2nd May 2013. We discussed a range of issues arising from making time visual and - as often before - contrasted the crudeness of many digital approaches with the subtle approach of much older examples on paper. Florian went to Paris to present the paper.
- Writing a joint full paper for an annual conference in London: Krautli, F and Boyd Davis, S. Known Unknowns: representing uncertainty in historical time. Electronic Visualisation and the Arts, British Computer Society, London, 29-31 July 2013. Here we concentrated on the representation of uncertainty.
- We have had a proposal accepted for a paper at ESSHC in Austria next spring: Boyd Davis, S and Kräutli, F. Scholarly chronographics: can a timeline be useful in historiography? European Social Science History Conference. Vienna. 23-26 April 2014.
- We have been working with the Britten-Pears Foundation on timelines of Benjamin Britten's works.
- My own work has included:
- A presentation to Scientiae 2013 in April: The Two Eyes of History: the origins of chronographics. Scientiae 2013: Disciplines of Knowing in the Early-Modern World, University of Warwick, 18th-20th April 2013. This focused on the two intellectual inputs to early timelines: an ontology of time based on linearity and uniformity, and an epistemology - used in order to articulate and convey this concept - of treating time as space, and history as a kind of geography.
- The Scientiae presentation led to a chapter proposal being accepted for a book to be published by Pickering and Chatto during 2014. May not duration be represented as distinctly as space? This will continue the theme of the early timeline pioneers' reliance on geographic metaphors, verbal or visual, as they sought ways to visualise time.
- I gave an invited talk to the Information Design Association: Inventing the Timeline: a history of visual history. Information Design Association, Royal College of Art, 29 January 2013.
- The paper with Emma Bevan and Aleksei Kudikov for EVA 2012 was chosen for a book of the best of EVA papers from four years of the conference: Boyd Davis, S., Bevan, E. and Kudikov, A. Just In Time: defining historical chronographics. In: Jonathan Bowen, Suzanne Keene, Kia Ng (eds.) Electronic Visualisation in Arts and Culture. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4471-5405-1. 243-257.
- I helped Liliya Korallo, now Dr. Korallo after completing her PhD successfully at Middlesex University, to write a chapter that was essentially a digest of the thesis: Korallo, L., Boyd Davis, S., Foreman, N. and Moar, M. Human-centric Chronographics: making historical time memorable. In: Weidong Huang (ed.) Human centric visualization: theories, methodologies and case studies. Springer. ISBN 978-1-4614-7484-5. 473-512.
Posted by StephenBD at 13:49