Helga Schmid
Kevin Walker


This exposition is organised around bodily phases of the day, developed by Helga in collaboration with chronobiologists. We encourage readers/viewers to interact with them at the appropriate time of day, though bodily phases vary somewhat individually; they are not tied to clock times, thus you must determine which phase you are in. We developed this exposition in a similar manner, for example, by constructing the Wake-up Phase first thing in the morning, and so on. Our presentation may appear linear, but you can begin with the phase you are currently in and read in any order. If you prefer, you can read it from beginning to end in a linear way. The sequence presented here was not how the event unfolded; we began in the Physical Performance Phase on a Friday afternoon and ended in the Physical Performance Phase the following day.

We developed this exposition, as well as the project as a whole, through conversations that occurred during each phase, and we present it here as a dialogue. We have expanded notes and references on the academic research and theory to which we refer in the dialogue.

Uchronia diagrams: Redrawn from Charles Renouvier (1876), and alternative diagrams by Helga.

Diagram redrawn by Kevin from Van de Velde (2003).

This video shows part of the Drawing Breath workshop run by Jayoon Choi, seen at left.

In this video Helga gives an introduction to the event and her approach, in a panel discussion with Jonathan Reekie and Sarah Cook, curators of the 24/7 exhibition at Somerset House, London.

The room at Somerset House, London where the Wake-up Phase was held, with golden-coloured gels on the south-facing windows.

Minkowski spacetime, redrawn from Wikipedia by Kevin. For more, see this article.

One of the shortest phases is the Wake-up Phase. The body transitions from lying to standing wide awake during this phase, with the highest rise in blood pressure and production of the hormones cortisol and testosterone. Light modulates through a spectrum of colours representing a sunrise, ranging from darkness to an activating blue.



Conversation is an important method for both of us. It has a long history as a method in artistic research and practice. This is also influenced by my background in anthropology and journalism. Conversations are an important part of ethnography in anthropology, for example, and they are the main form of data collection in journalism, important not only for framing things in terms of narrative, but also for translating complex topics into understandable terms; people speak different than they write.



This also applies to my work with scientists. Academic writing can be convoluted, with a lot of specialised jargon, but when someone explains something to you, it is in conversational terms. So it is fitting that the event’s Wake-up Phase included a conversation I had with Sarah Cook and Jonathan Reekie, curators of the 24/7 exhibition at Somerset House, a London arts centre in a former palace where I also have a studio space. The exhibition was directly related to our event. A video clip from that conversation appears below.



The exhibition was based on Jonathan Crary’s book, 24/7 (2013) which has had an impact on both of us. I like how he looks beyond specific technologies or cultural phenomena to the underlying assumptions or metaphysical reality, something that philosopher Federico Campagna does as well [see the Intuitive Phase].



For me, the book is significant because it details the ‘time crisis’ as philosopher Byung-Chul Han (2017) refers to it – a 'dyschronicity' in which most people in the so-called 'developed world' feel as if we cannot keep up, as if we are running in place. According to sociologist Judy Wajcman (2015), most people's free time has increased in these societies over the last half-century, but their perception is the opposite: they feel 'pressed for time.' It is important to note that not everyone feels this way, even in the 'developed world'. Consider, for example, incarcerated people, who may have a different experience of time. 


Crary sees technological developments, 24-hour news cycles, and the drive for constant work as the root causes of this crisis, with sleep viewed as a barrier or a problem to be overcome. However, chronobiologists are well aware that a lack of sleep actually is the root cause of many problems, both mental and physical, and social. For recent evidence, see for example the work of Till Ronneberg and Debra Skene, who argue that if everyone slept an hour longer each night, there would be far fewer accidents, health problems, and social conflicts. Skene also explores evidence that certain medical symptoms are more pronounced at different times of day, and treatment effectiveness varies according to the time of day.



Another thing to note about conversation is that it does not simply imply talking. I employ a conversation theory from cybernetics that divides a conversational system composed of two agents (human or otherwise) into two levels, of descriptions and actions. In a similar vein, Federico Campagna discusses essence versus existence: things that can be described and classified using language and those that cannot, and how absolute language underpins our current reality system, in his book Technic and Magic (Campagna 2018) [see Intuitive Phase]. Anything that cannot be described or classified in language, he claims, does not have a legitimate place in our reality system.

So we can also discuss a dialogue with materials or tools, which is central to both of our practices, with, for instance, drawing. People who draw a lot are aware that it distorts their sense of time and perception. As illustrator Shaun Tan says, 'You discover how confounding the world is when you try to draw it. You look at a car, and you try to see its car-ness, and you’re like an immigrant to your own world. You don’t have to travel to encounter weirdness. You wake up to it.'

As a result, I asked Jayoon Choi to lead a drawing workshop during the Wake-up Phase. Her approach to drawing involves the entire body, and we saw people drawing with two hands, multiple fingers, their feet, and even their mouths at the event. In the Wake-up Phase, the body moves from lying down to standing, and the mind emerges from a dream state devoid of language, returning to Campagna's concept of ineffable existence. Or, to put it another way, dreams have an irrational, nonlinear language in which time operates differently than it does in the waking world. This phase transitions us back into the rational world of language and into the Cognitive Performance Phase, which follows this one.

Jayoon's work incorporates the entire body; she draws bodies in motion, for example, but she also attempts to represent mental states. (On this page, see in particular her drawings 'Sleeping, Lying Down and Rolling Around' and 'Waking Up From a Nightmare'.) She works intuitively, drawing from philosophy and symbolism, which is why another of her drawing workshops was included in the Intuitive Phase. The workshops’ theme was 'drawing breath', which can be interpreted in two ways. A video clip appears below.



This brings us to our main point: treating time as a material, not as something fixed or linear, but as something malleable. Can we bring time stretching and moving in different directions into the waking world if it stretches and moves in different directions in dreams? This was our primary research question: could we change people's perceptions of time by treating it like a malleable material? We investigated this by not scheduling things in temporal portions of the same size (a one-hour talk, a one-hour workshop, and so on), but rather by starting with these bodily phases, I developed and aligning certain activities to them in order to give people the impression that time slows down, speeds up, or behaves differently.

Not only in the activities, but throughout the atmosphere: time as material means manifesting time in physical materials, which is why we used specific fabrics, furniture, lighting, and colours for each phase. This entailed staging each phase in a different room. As a participant, you entered the room that corresponded to the phase you felt you were in, and when you felt differently, you moved to another room. You did not have to move from the Wake-up room to the Cognitive Performance room; you could, for example, go to the Sleep room. However, we assisted in aligning with the bodily phases by scheduling specific activities in certain rooms at specific times of the day. For example, if you went to the Sleep room in the morning, there was not much happening in there. Many people stayed for the duration of the event, or left and returned at various times, and moved through the rooms as we expected. 

The Wake-up Phase was especially beautiful because the windows in that room faced south over the River Thames, and we covered them in gold-coloured gel; when the sun came up, the most amazing golden glow filled the room, as seen in the video below.

My starting point for developing the overarching concept of 'uchronia' was to consider time as a stretchable material. In his book Uchronie (1876), Charles Renouvier depicts time splitting into branches at various points. I used that as a starting point and imagined alternative time systems. The bodily phases are only one possible uchronia, or time utopia. 

This is all detailed in my book Uchronia: Designing Time (Schmid 2020), which is shown to the right; it was released around the same time as the event, so the event also served as a book launch. I describe the 'three faces of uchronia' in the first chapter, borrowing from Lyman Tower Sargent's three faces of utopianism (Sargent 2010). The first definition of uchronia that comes to mind is Renouvier’s use of the term ‘alternative history’. The second is a temporal utopia or time paradise, inspired by Helga Nowotny (1996), who uses it to solve social problems (specifically, the problem of the 'time crisis'). The third face of uchronia derives from the Greek ou-chronos, which means 'no time', being outside of time or history. This is the primary way we use it in the context of this event to assist people in stepping outside of the system of clocks and calendars.

Another source of inspiration for me was sociologist Ruth Levitas’s book Utopia as Method (2013). In it, she describes utopia as a uniquely human way of 'imagining otherwise'. This inspired me to develop uchronia as a methodology, a collection of methods, rather than a single method. One of these is atemporal events. Time as a malleable material, rather than a linear, rigid system, continues to be a guiding principle.



The branching of time into alternative paths brings to mind a key reference for me: Walter van de Velde’s paper ‘The World as Computer’ (2003). It is a thought experiment in which he imagines the world as a type of computer that can only compute one thing: the future. We program this computer through design practice; by directing someone’s attention to one thing or another, we have the potential to change their future, and, by extension, our collective future. He has a similar diagram that shows the future and the past splitting off into branches; the further out we go, the less we know. Time is a material, but in his model, we can only manipulate the present or the imminent future; when we get into deep time, time as a material transforms from a solid like clay into something more fluid or gaseous, i.e. more chaotic, unpredictable, and uncontrollable.



The difference is that in uchronia, as Renouvier depicts it, there are many individual time paths running alongside each other, rather than just one. This, I believe, is not science fiction. If we take a radically subjective view of reality, as Heinz von Foerster (1973) does, then each person truly lives in a different reality and constructs their own reality. Consider how you can be doing something and thinking something completely different in your head at the same time in your daily life. While your body is in the present, your mind can be in the past or future.



Alternatively, consider social media. I co-authored a paper with other anthropologists a few years ago about what one of them called 'polysocial reality' (Applin, Fischer & Walker 2012) – the idea that you could be co-located with someone in the real world but also with someone on your phone at the same time, living in two different realities.

The concept of multiple times at once is also consistent with physicist Carlo Rovelli’s belief that all time is local, subjective, and relative (Rovelli 2018). Because the equations in physics also work backwards, time is theoretically reversible. This dates back to Einstein, as well as one of his professors, Hermann Minkowski, who depicts time running vertically in both directions, and three dimensions of space flattened to a 2D plane, with an observer at the centre who can see a certain distance into the future and into the past as a pair of cones. Each observer has their own such point of view.

We organised this exposition similarly along a vertical axis, but in the opposite direction Minkowski depicts it, though we do not necessarily represent time passing in each phase, except in relation to how we expect a reader to navigate the content. Vertical representations of time, on the other hand, are unusual. Barbara Tversky (2011), for example, observes that when time is represented spatially, it almost always runs horizontally, and this is consistent across cultures and ages, most likely owing to typical human motion. As a material, time is closely related to space, and our event reflected this, with people moving to different rooms for different times of the day.




When considering time as a material, it can also take various forms. Many people, including Jonathan Crary, believe that time is accelerating, implying a linear motion. Returning to the 'time crisis', Byung-Chul Han (2017) sees it instead as an atomisation of time; acceleration requires a vector, a direction, but he claims that time has lost all direction, and events converge on the present, leaving us standing still or jumping from point to point, event to event, without duration or reflection. He emphasises a need for a vita contemplativa, a contemplative life, as opposed to what he refers to as the vita activa. This is what atemporal events are about: getting people to slow down, look around, step out of the spinning-in-place of clock time, and see that there are alternatives. Time as a material entails doing what artist Sarah Sze does: 'For me, part of the challenge is to recover our sense of time through tactility – through materials, through texture, through the senses.’


On Conversation:

Cross-disciplinary conversations, according to Mick Wilson (2013, p. 211), can sometimes work at cross-purposes, which challenges the common belief that 'the artist is necessarily the great generalist, capable of standing outside disciplinary limitations because the artist is the one without discipline and without disciplinary restriction.' We would like to challenge this notion further by considering ourselves to be cross-disciplinary as individuals. Helga also considers herself a graphic designer, Kevin an anthropologist, and both of us are educators and academics. We have both collaborated extensively with scientists: Helga as documented in her book, Uchronia (2020), pictured above, and Kevin in his paper "A systems approach to design innovation" (2018). Our understanding of many basic scientific concepts aids in the development of a common language with scientists; on the other hand, we retain the critical questioning of artists in order to prompt scientists and audiences to see things in new light.


Details of the bodily phases developed by Helga with chronobiologists can be found in her book Uchronia: Designing Time (Schmid 2020)

Beholder by United Visual Artists

Chronobiologist Debra Skene

This is one of the day’s longest phases. Peak concentration, short-term memory, and logical reasoning occur, coinciding with peaks in the hormone cortisol, heart rate, and blood pressure. Walking, standing, and sitting are all common body positions. The light is at its brightest, in full spectrum, comparable to the sun at its peak.



Morning is usually the best time for logical reasoning and other cognitive tasks. This means something different to everyone. It could be reading or writing, or it could be 'mindless' repetitive tasks. We included a VR installation called Beholder by United Visual Artists in the event. Matt Clark, the founder of UVA, has a severely autistic son, so this was a personal work about how autistic people perceive time differently. Much of UVA’s work is concerned with the perception of time. 

Conversation was also important in this phase, and we heard from chronobiologist Debra Skene, with whom I have been working with for some time. She spoke about the human body clock and what happens when it is out of sync and her discussion was dense and scientific, full of facts and research, and thus perfectly suitable for this phase. But it also touches on the politics of uchronia, as I understand it, which is oriented toward large-scale social and political change, displacing our controlling system of clocks and calendars. This is based on science, not only to improve health and wellness, but also to provide evidence for many individuals and institutions. 

My goal is not to preach to people that they should follow the science, but rather to experiment, using light as a design material, to create and experiment with different ways of being in time, which can only be accomplished by rejecting rigid clock time. The first step in previous experiments we have conducted (detailed in Chapter 4 of my book (Schmid 2020) and in the paper 'Anti-clockwise: Building a uchronian critical mass' (Schmid & Walker (2021)) has been to take away participants' phones and cover the clocks on their laptops and elsewhere. We then get them to make up their own time-givers, so they can shape time to their own activities and purposes, rather than the other way around.



As a direct reference to your phases, I always scheduled my seminars in the mornings at the Royal College of Art. And you gave a few of these seminars. It is worth noting that these were held on Tuesdays rather than Mondays because Monday mornings still have a negative connotation with many people; as you say, uchronia is about calendars as well as clocks, and our days of the week are just as artificial as clock time. Nonetheless, institutions and cultural norms continue to encourage us to work during the 'weekdays' and relax on weekends. But, as you say, it is not for everyone; Judy Wajcman (2015) and chronobiologists like Debra, for example, address shift workers, who can suffer physical and emotional consequences from being separated from daylight during waking hours.

Individually, it appears that there is not only a kind of master clock mechanism in the brain (the Suprachiasmatic nucleus, as you discuss in Chapter 1 of your book (Schmid 2020)), but that each of our cells contains a clock that oscillates at regular frequencies. Furthermore, because there are more nonhuman cells in the body than human ones, the line between internal and external is blurred. Can you elaborate on external time cues? Light, for example, was crucial for this event, as well as in treating time as a material in general. How can light stretch or shape time?



The German word is Zeitgeber, ‘time giver’. Natural light is the most important Zeitgeber not only for humans, and chronobiologists believe that the day-night cycle was the primal rhythm responsible for giving the first cells a kind of temporal cycle, and thus for the origin of life itself.

Full-spectrum sunlight is ideal during the Cognitive Performance Phase. Remember that daylight ranges from 10,000 to 100,000 lux, and even the brightest light indoors only has a lux range of 500, so there is a significant difference. 

Light is not the only external Zeitgeber. In the experiments, I send people to remote and unusual locations where they live by their own Zeitgeber for up to a week. We have had people use food as a time-giver, music, the space itself, and even Proust’s In Search of Lost Time: they each read a chapter while the others cooked, slept, or knitted a long strand, each with their own colour. The knitted artefact then became a material record of their time spent together: simple material, simple object, but imbued with profound collective meaning. Something like that gives time an explicit materiality, a visualisation or 'timeline' made real, but also a poetic, material memory of a specific time together. (Again, see Chapter 4 of my book (Schmid 2020) for more detail.)



‘Every Object Tells a Story’ was a project run by the V&A Museum in London years ago. However, I believe that every object is a story in and of itself. In my research and teaching, I encourage people to consider everything in terms of time, rather than spaces or objects; not even ideas are fixed, because everything is constantly in motion or increasing in entropy, just at different timescales. Time is everywhere and in everything, but everyone takes it for granted. (This is detailed in this article.) For example, I framed the interior in temporal, rather than spatial, terms for the Interior Futures book series I co-edited (for which you wrote a chapter): interiority as a condition. Then I framed the future not in terms of time, but as a place, a destination. But it is one we never reach, always just over the horizon. 

Your installation for that book launch exhibition was a representation of your ‘Circadian Space’, another way of materialising time in space, in a bespoke, circular architectural space where these bodily phases are similarly spatialised, and participants move through the space as they move through each phase. This event served as a test to validate that concept for us.

This reminds me of a workshop we created for this phase of the event, ‘How Long is Now?’, based on some research you found.



Marc Wittmann, a psychologist, came up with a specific answer to that question: 'now' equals 2.5 seconds (Wittmann 2016). This is allegedly the average time for human breathing, plus the time we spend checking our phones or social media, scratching an itch, and so on. There is some debate as to how accurate this is. The idea of the workshop was for participants to quantify this by observing other people engaging in various common behaviours. 

We did not run it in the end because we ran out of time! We discovered that running an atemporal event is difficult. Because there are no set times for things, the phases of the day overlapped somewhat, with different activities sometimes happening concurrently in different rooms, because these phases vary from person to person. I could be in my Cognitive Performance Phase while you are in your Nap Phase. While I was in my Nap Phase, I would just go into that room, and each session lasts as long as participants want it to; you can come and go as you please.

But we ran up into institutional pressure here: the venue wanted to assign specific clock times to events, owing to the fact that this was a ticketed event. Somerset House reasoned that if someone paid in advance to hear Debra Skene speak, for example, and then missed her, they might complain or want their money back. So if you look at their event web site, you will notice that they assigned precise clock times to each activity. This was completely contrary to our intentions, and we considered withdrawing completely. However, we determined that the overall benefits of raising awareness about questioning clock time outweighed this disadvantage. But we were constantly resisting it. And, as I previously stated, activities frequently overlapped because some people might be in one phase while others were in another. So, in the end, activities lasted as long as they did and did not adhere to strict timetables. However, this meant that we had to abandon one activity, the 2.5-second experiment.

That experiment was not meant to be scientific; it was simply an exercise to get people to think about what is the present. If time is a malleable material, part of the process is to question and shape specific parts of time, such as what we call 'the present’.

This brings up the point that while we both use or draw from scientific methods, we frequently subvert or balance them with artistic methods. We both collaborate with scientists, but we use our own different methods. That is what artistic research is all about, and I believe we can agree that it is just as valid as scientific research in terms of generating new knowledge. 



This relates to your point about politics: it is much easier to obtain funding for scientific research, for example, and we have frequently ridden on the back of such funding in the ‘public engagement’ component of such grants. This event did the opposite: it used science to serve our artistic purposes. As you say, science legitimises a topic for many people, but it was only one component of this event, which included drawing, meditation, dance, and so on.

The Cognitive Performance Phase was held in the largest room we had, reflecting the fact that this phase is one of the longest of the day, roughly equal to the Physical Performance Phase but shorter than the Sleep Phase. (The size of the circles at the top of this exposition reflects these differences.) In this case, materialising time spatially meant creating space to think.

Based on your research, we lit the entire space in blue, and we also commissioned music for this phase, as well as for the Physical Performance Phase. That is another way to materialise time, through sound. Sound is inherently time-based, and it affects us in non-linguistic ways. At home, for example, we might listen to Bach piano music in the mornings but something completely different in the evenings. Piotr's commissioned music (excerpt below) reflects his own interpretation of the Cognitive Performance Phase. This was played before, not during, Debra’s talk.

Hear an excerpt of Cognitive Performance Phase music composed by Piotr Ceglarek


It is an area of migration and contamination, where sunlight doesn’t merely reveal the qualities of things and their productive categories, but primarily their ineffable dimension. Like the midday hour in summer, it is haunted by an unnameable temporality, beyond the measure of clocks and of history books.

— Federico Campagna, Technic and Magic (2018)

Poetry reading by Lucy Mercer

Microbial Meditation workshop by Baum+Leahy

According to chronobiological research, a second rest phase occurs approximately twelve hours after deepest sleep; this holds true even for people who work night shifts, such as nurses. During this time, alertness and concentration are significantly reduced. This is not the time for deep sleep in complete darkness, but rather for resting and contemplation, with the possibility of a short nap. Dimmed red-orange lights are ideal, and lying is the best posture.



Everyone is familiar with the low-energy period following lunch, when you are nodding off at your desk, in a meeting or lecture. But few people ever do anything about it, either because institutions do not make any provision for it, with places or times set aside to nap or simply rest; or, because we feel culturally or personally that we must push through it, with more coffee perhaps. Then, by the end of the day, everyone is exhausted and wants to get home as soon as possible, which is why most accidents happen then; it is the worst time to travel. Some cultures are far ahead in this regard, such as those with a siesta tradition.

The Nap Phase, on the other hand, has a deeper meaning. It is not just that each of us should sleep after lunch; if you do, the nap should be short, or else it will disrupt your sleep at night. Following the philosopher Byung-Chul Han’s (2017) call for the vita contemplativa (that we slow down, pause to reflect, and refresh), this is more of a time for reclining and reflecting. Only when we stand still or move more slowly, he says, do we notice those things that persist. He refers to this as hovering, a state in which time acquires a vertical depth rather than a linear motion.



This material aspect – shape, colour, lighting, sound –  was important for the event’s Nap Phase to sculpt time, to extend or carve out that depth. Circles, for example, are a recurring motif in your work.



The circle can represent stillness or even a point, but it also alludes to cyclical time systems. I designed round architecture to align with circadian rhythms (described in Chapter 6 of my book (Schmid 2020)) and a circular bed. Savoir Beds, a luxury bed manufacturer, kindly supported the design of the room we used for this phase by providing these large circular pads on which people could lie or recline. 

In terms of time as a material, this entails providing space, furniture, and conditions for the body to adopt positions appropriate to each phase. It was quite a sight to see how many people negotiated and used these pads together; they eventually converged on an arrangement with people’s heads in the centre and their legs sticking out around the outside. Then came COVID-19, which arrived shortly after, and this closeness was abruptly forbidden. Actually, this circle with legs sticking out resembles a virus. And humans as a virus on the planet is an apt analogy. 



Appropriately, we brought in Baum+Leahy for this phase. They are former students who now have a successful artistic practice that focuses on natural and ecological phenomena. They conducted a ‘microbial meditation’ to not only relax people but also to connect them with their gut bacteria; humans have more nonhuman organisms than human ones inside. As a result, the job of our immune system is directly related to our identity, constantly determining what is part of us and what is alien. I put Baum+Leahy in touch with Leah Kelly, a neuroscientist in New York who has written eloquently about this (Kelly 2016); William James writes in the same book, 'the world moves in and through us’.

In terms of our thesis of time as a material, this means that what we think of as individual human beings are just one temporal, and temporary, manifestation of time itself, not things in and of themselves, but events. According to Karen Barad (2003), phenomena are the primary epistemological unit; not matter but 'mattering'. Or, to put it more poetically as Norbert Weiner does, 'We are but whirlpools in a river of ever-flowing water. We are not stuff that abides, but patterns that perpetuate themselves' (Weiner 1950).

One answer to our research question is that in order to treat time as material, you must materialise it in matter, but paradoxically, you must also treat all matter (including humans) as ephemeral and transitory.



Let's add language to that. While the concept of existence is based on the ineffable (including how we think about time), philosopher Federico Campagna [see Intuitive Phase] claims that there is actually one type of language that is not rational or indexical, and that is poetry. It stretches and plays with language in more symbolic ways; it simply points to things rather than describing them or exemplifying them in the way that analogies or allegories do. That is why we brought in a poet for this phase. And this, in my opinion, reflects the various modes of thought that we engage in at various times of the day.



Federico recommended Lucy Mercer, a poet who has won several awards for her work. And she was, I believe, perfect, despite the fact that some of the poems she read were quite dark!

Poetry, as you say, represents a different way of thinking, a night-time way of thinking. Poems frequently come to me in the middle of the night. According to some Indian philosophers, meaning is found in whole sentences rather than individual words or letters; it is hidden in language. Federico discusses this in his book Technic and Magic (Campagna 2018).



We can find meaning in our work, in the materials; I am referring here to the physical materials we used. This scene of people on circular pads bathed in deep red light is a kind of poetic landscape. Baum+Leahy brought this long, strangely-shaped mask that goes over everyone’s eyes and is filled with herbs and other things (again taboo with COVID, where masks took on a whole new meaning). It was an ambiguous sight; people entered the room and had no idea what was going on: slightly surreal. We took this as a good thing. 

It is worth noting that Baum+Leahy wrote their MA dissertation while they were your students, collaboratively with another student but also with an artificial intelligence system, and they referenced both Barad and Donna Haraway in their poetic use of language.

We always encourage our students to create work with a poetic quality. That, I believe, is the point: artists educate or transform the gaze, or our experience in general. Or, as you mention in the Wake-up Phase, programming this theoretical computer that creates the future. Treating time as a material, as another answer to our research question, entails 'programming' it, both in the sense of programming an event, as we did here, and as an algorithmic approach to matter; again, 'mattering' to use Karen Barad's term.


Excerpt of Where's the Funk rhythm workshop by Yaprak Göker

Excerpt of performance by dancer Laura Lorenzi, with music by Piotr Ceglarek and installtion by Nayan Kulkarni

Computer Scientist / fitness trainer m.c. schraefel

This is the most physically active phase in the circadian rhythm. External daylight is the ideal lighting condition (blue). Over the course of a few hours, our alertness, muscle strength, cardiovascular performance, blood pressure, and body temperature are at their peak, and we are least likely to sleep.



I have been working with a conversational framework that separates descriptions from actions, with descriptions being language-based and actions being indescribable or ineffable; think of something like the Feldenkreis technique, where you try to become aware of every little movement you make. When attempting to describe the act of getting out of a chair, for example, you quickly discover that it is impossible (this is discussed on pages 14-15 of Experience Design: A Framework for Integrating Brand, Experience and Value (Farnham & Newbery 2013)).



Performance is important in the Physical Performance Phase, both functionally and theatrically. In terms of sculpting time as a material, we can think theatrically, in terms of scripting (or 'programming', as we discuss in the Nap Phase), or in viewing or evaluating performance in terms of how things and people perform, i.e. what people do, not what they say, which is frequently different.

A talk I attended by artist Olafur Eliasson about ‘unlearning,’, and how we need to unlearn our relationship to space, inspired my entire uchronia project. In the background, he had a performer running across the stage in slow motion. Since then, my entire goal has been to unlearn time. In light of what I discuss during the Wake-up Phase, this refers to the 'third face of uchronia': assisting people in stepping outside the system of clocks and calendars and beginning anew in our relationship to time.

Referring to your conversational model, which separates language and actions, we could, to some extent, talk about a language of actions, of movements. This is why dancers and performers are important during this phase. Aside from the obvious fact that many of us spend our days sitting, dancers and performers are especially aware of their bodies and movements, and, as a result, can help people unlearn time through movement, whether directly involving people or simply showing, as in Eliasson's slow-motion running man. Choreographic notation is a method of translating movement into some kind of linguistic form; it bridges your two levels of language and action. (See, for example, William Forsythe on Choreographic Objects.)

Working with the dancer Laura Lorenzi has been fantastic in this context. We discovered her through one of your students, for whom Laura gave an amazing performance in a film. She performed in our first atemporal event at the London Design Museum, and it was a highlight for many people. 

She does not choreograph her performance ahead of time; it is mostly improvised. The space, atmosphere, and music are all important. Piotr Ceglarek and Ronnie Deelen, two other regular collaborators, improvised live music at the previous event as well. She does rehearse, but in general, she responds to the music, the space, and even the audience to some extent.



The music for this event was pre-recorded. But, I believe, something magical occurred. This performance took place inside of a video installation; it was an interactive work by Nayan Kulkarni, an artist with whom you recently began working. It made use of video tracking and overlapping projections that filled the entire room, generating feedback through colour, and drawn graphics translated from what the camera saw. 

As a result, there was a live collaboration with the installation. Even more so in Laura’s second performance (the Physical Performance Phase was repeated on the second day), when Nayan used a handheld spotlight, which became another performer. It all raises the question of who the performers are here: the space itself, the technology, and, to some extent, Piotr and Ronnie from a temporal distance.

Laura called out Ronnie for a curtain call after the evening performance, but after the second one, she called out Nayan. Everyone who was there had a transformative experience, I believe, because the combination of her dancing and the responsive installation created genuine emotion. I was filming it, and when it was finished, I, like many, thought, 'Wow!' As Dewey says in his book Art as Experience (1934), it was one of those moments when we say, 'That was an experience!' In terms of sculpting time as a material, this is where time almost stops or is suspended – stepping outside of time. As a result, it has an emotional resonance that remains with us as a long-term memory.



Hartmut Rosa, a sociologist, discusses what he calls social resonance (2016), a way to counter temporal acceleration processes. In this rapidly changing world, the way we connect with other people and with the world in general, even just by breathing, provides some stability, some grounding. The act of breathing is like taking in a part of the world and then giving a part of yourself back to it; I believe this performance similarly works in both directions.

Laura’s performance works in this way through movement. Mirror neurons, for example, have been studied to see if when people watch someone else move, their brain actually replicates those movements, even if the viewer is not physically moving. In a movie theatre, however, you can see people physically reacting to the action on the screen.

The Physical Performance Phase is about getting people to move, not just watching. We also had a rhythm workshop led by Yaprak Göker, in which people formed a large circle and moved, tapped, clapped, and even sang. That is another type of social resonance: being involved and creating something with other people that takes on an emergent quality, becoming more than the sum of its parts. A more active form of sculpting time in terms of rhythm by playing with time itself. This gives time motion, but it also creates its own 'time signature', to use the musical term, outside of clock time.

During this phase, there was also a talk by someone else you recommended, m.c. schraefel, a computer scientist, who also got people up and moving and talked about the scientific value of sleep as well as the dangers of sitting all day. She is also a personal trainer and a fitness expert. All of this was accomplished by connecting movement in a different way: not in a poetic, ineffable sense of performance, but in the scientific way of measuring physical performance.

Additionally, there was deliberately no place to sit in that room during this phase. If we take these bodily phases seriously, we would spend four hours a day up and moving, whereas most people we know spend the majority of the day sitting indoors in artificial light and in front of a screen, which is the exact opposite of what we should be doing. This is not the case for everyone; some people have more active jobs, such as my family, who have a farm. The rest of us must make a concerted effort.

Hear an excerpt of Physical Performance Phase music by Ronnie Deelen


150 > 4Hz - Rhythmic Rocking Chair installation by Nick Ryan

Excerpt of conversation led by philosopher Federico Campagna

Designing Time at the Design Museum, London, 2019, with light wall installation by Nayan Kulkarni

In the Intuitive Phase, creative thinking is at its peak. The mind wanders, and logical reasoning fades. The light is a representation of a sunset. Sitting, standing, or moving is the best posture.



I believe the Intuitive Phase was our favourite room (I realise we are discussing time in terms of spaces, which is the point). It was the same one that was used for the Wake-up Phase, which was, as we said, quite golden in the morning. And in the evening, it was more salmon, pink-orange. We had some artificial light because it was dark outside (it was February in London), but in the evening we had more light coming from the other side of the room, where there was another set of windows opening onto a brightly lit courtyard; on these windows we had the more salmon-coloured gels. We were fortunate for this event to have so many rooms to work with, as well as the wonderful old architecture of Somerset House. At the previous atemporal event at the Design Museum, we were in one large room with blacked-out windows, and Nayan Kulkarni created a large wall of light that changed for each phase. The larger point in terms of time as material is working with the spaces and materials you have. One room can change over time, or time can be spread across multiple rooms. 



It is important to mention sound. A rocking chair installation by sound artist Nick Ryan contributed significantly to the atmosphere in this room. It was just a normal rocking chair (quite a nice one, loaned by the manufacturer). However, he had a phone attached to the bottom, which controlled the sound in the room when you rocked. He composed a dissonant sound piece using urban sounds, transport, and so on. However, rocking in the chair at a constant speed moderated and smoothed the sound. 

Nick was speaking with an older woman who was conservative in her views, and when she heard the sound, she just hated this installation. But when he explained the concept to her, she said, 'I love it!' That is a good example of an artist describing or explaining their work, and there is always that balance between how much you describe and how much you leave open to interpretation. In artistic research, there is an argument that if artists do not articulate their intentions, they cede the terms of the debate to others who will impose their own interpretations.



One of the best works I have ever seen at the RCA was a pair of identical large rocks. That’s all there was to it; no further explanation was required. Exactly the same, right down to the last detail.

But another was this immersive installation that featured a projected sea, seen from above, on all four sides of a small room with a wood bench in the centre. All very nice, but a label by the door informed you that the bench was made from a wrecked refugee boat, and the projected sea was the exact location in the Mediterranean where it sank. This small detail made you experience the installation in a completely different light.



What was interesting about our room was that one person controlled the sound for everyone in the room. Savoir Beds donated beautiful white, padded fabric, which we used to create this large, soft landscape at one end. People could lounge, recline, sleep, and converse. Many people did this, and every so often, one person got up and rocked in the chair, sometimes prompted by others. This is related to Hartmut Rosa's concept of 'social resonance', which we discuss in the Physical Performance Phase. In this case, sculpting time was a social process, how we 'spend time' with others, though I am wary of these monetary metaphors for time.



Federico Campagna’s talk during this phase was, I believe, another highlight for many people. He is an engaging speaker who excels at explaining complex philosophical concepts. This was very much a conversation, and he began by discussing when time stops. This was appropriate for an ‘atemporal event’ where the intention is to stop or step outside of clock time. He means it in an apocalyptic sense. That sounds bleak, but he defines it as when one reality system ends. It is fairly common in this sense. For example, our reality as a child or a teenager is different from our adult reality; think of it like your bodily phases, but on a larger timescale. In a metaphysical sense, he means what lies beneath the level of culture, ideology, systems and technologies, and specific things. What determines what can legitimately exist in the world, what actions are possible, and even what thoughts are thinkable?  

This is suddenly especially relevant today, with the COVID pandemic causing massive changes and prompting us to question everything. It sparked a subsequent project by us, which is documented in the paper 'Anti-clockwise: Building a uchronian critical mass' (Schmid & Walker 2021) 



Federico and I discussed this about a year before the event during one of your seminars at the RCA. It was during the Cognitive Performance Phase in the morning, and when I listen back to the recording, we sound awake and rational, in comparison to this phase!

But this brings up another important question in my uchronia research: what does it really mean to step outside of time? I consider this in terms of societal clock time, but for him as a philosopher, this is one of those useful paradoxes. Every concept, he says, has an inverse, a shadow. The concept of time implies the concept of non-time, which corresponds to my 'third face of uchronia' that I discuss in the Wake-up Phase. He provided additional examples: the notion of eternity, of never, of an instant – what Byung-Chul Han (2017) discusses when time is compressed into a single point and we simply jump from point to point in our daily lives, where there is no duration. Again, not everyone, but many people in Europe and the US. In Germany, we have the Kyffhäuser legend, which tells of a king who is buried in a mountain circled by ravens. He is said to return when things become difficult for people. No matter how bad things get, he never returns, implying that things cannot be that bad. In German, we have a word, nirgendwann. It combines the words for ‘never’ and ‘when’. That is when the king will return.



Furthermore, the concept of time implies that something existed before time began and may exist after it ends. Federico mentioned some other creation myths about lost paradises in your conversation; for example, a time before when everything was seen to be good, and can we somehow return to this ‘time paradise’ (your 'second face of uchronia'). However, the concept of pre-time can also be found in modern science, in the Big Bang theory for example.

We discussed representations of time, which are typically a straight line, horizontal, and, as Federico noted during his talk, with a start and an end point: a line segment. You, on the other hand, mentioned circles, cyclical time, branching, and nonlinear time. We even mentioned the (theoretical) possibility of backward time. Considering time as a material, there are rich possibilities beyond simply speeding it up or slowing it down in a linear manner.



Yes, for example, whether you see the future as being in front of you, as in forward progress, or behind you because you cannot see it, as some cultures do (see Tversky 2011). We are accustomed to planning for the future, but I suggested to your students that they make a schedule for the previous week. When you do this, you consider the quality of time rather than the quantity, width rather than length. This is based on an idea from chronosociologist Karlheinz Geißler, who discussed the concept of the width of time in one of our conversations. Byung-Chul Han also mentions time having depth and shape, as well as scent. As you say, sculpting time is not only squeezing or stretching; it is also shaping, filling, colouring, and texturing. It is about creating memories, but it is also about creating the present and the future, for ourselves and for others, in collaboration.

In terms of materiality, the publication we created for the event is worth mentioning. It is printed on the same paper that used to be used to print money. The college I work in was where they tested the printing of money in the UK, so they had a large stock of this paper. The Bank of England investigates anyone who orders more than a limited amount of this paper! We make no mention of this in the publication. However, people may experience a tactile sensation. Time is money. The government does not print as much paper money these days, but it does generate enormous amounts electronically. And, in terms of time, moving everything online only serves to amplify the 24/7 culture that Jonathan Crary discusses (2013).


Excerpt from 50lx - Sonic Exploration by Project Instrumental

The body temperature drops, and the hormone melatonin takes effect, reducing alertness. The lighting should be dim with red-orange hues. The ideal posture is sitting or lying down.  



Here we are, just before bedtime, with the melatonin kicking in. We used the same room as the Nap Phase, with the big round beds and the red light, for the Sleepiness Phase. Some people did fall asleep.



Yes, but it is important to note that the event was not truly 24 consecutive hours. We were prepared to sleep on the soft landscape we mentioned in the previous phase. However, due to security concerns, people were unable to spend the night, and everyone had to leave by midnight. Somerset House compensated by doing an online livestream of content until we reopened at 9 A.M. the next morning. 

Originally, Project Instrumental, a string ensemble, planned to perform an eight-hour sleep concert overnight, performing a version of Max Richter’s sleep composition. However, (a) there was the overnight restriction, and (b) they could not get the rights to the music because the Max Richter piece was already being performed somewhere else in London at the time.

But they were eager to participate in this type of event, and what they ended up doing was both interesting and beautiful. It was essentially a three-hour improvisation, slow and meditative, combining live strings with live electronics, and there was some looping and some long drones. It was, appropriately, a conversation. 

And, in terms of materiality, I would argue that by doing things slowly, you slow down time, creating this ‘thick time’, to use William Kentridge's phrase, or the verticality and depth that Byung-Chul Han (2017) mentions.

I have always wanted to send my students to a museum and have them look at one painting, one artwork, for three hours straight. When you do this, you develop a different relationship with the work. Similarly, if I was a management consultant, I would schedule 24-hour meetings. Then you really get to know people, and by discussing whatever topic at different times of day, you can gain a deeper perspective, possibly make better decisions, and be more inclusive and insightful.

The Sleepiness Phase concludes the day by transporting your mind into a dream state, away from the world of rationality and language, and into the non-linear, non-time of sleep, the non-time of uchronia.

It is worth noting that it is now widely recognised that the bluish light emitted by phones and other LED screens disrupts sleep. Some companies, such as Apple, have a setting that allows you to adjust the colour of the light after a certain time, but it is best not to use a screen-based device at all for an hour or so before bed.

Returning to the topic of sculpting time as a material, it is not only in what we do for others, but also in the actions that people take for themselves. Again, the bodily phases vary individually, so each person must understand and shape their own rhythms. Coordination with other people becomes difficult (as discussed in Schmid and Walker 2021), but the phone actually helps this by allowing flexibility in how, when, and where we meet people; these days, you can agree to meet someone at a rough time, then simply call when you arrive. This can all take happen without using clock time. We are not anti-technology; on the contrary, it can help us step out of time in some ways. Time is shaped not only in by the actions we take, but also by the tools we use, and how we use them.

Listen to an excerpt of Excerpt of 50lx - Sonic Exploration by Project Instrumental


Sleep Dome by Michaela French

This is the day’s longest bodily stage. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, peaks, and the body experiences its deepest sleep with the lowest alertness, temperature, and gastric activity. Absolute darkness is ideal, and lying is the ideal posture.



The Sleep Phase lasts the longest. For obvious reasons, we should say that we are having this conversation only partly in the Sleep Phase, when we’re normally sleeping. But, like many people, we occasionally awaken in the middle of the night. And this bi-phasic sleep pattern, having two shorter sleep periods separated by a period of waking, can be creatively productive.



Yes, this is the time for poetry and reflection, as well as making connections. Everyone knows that if you are struggling with some problem in the evening, you often wake up with a solution. There has been extensive research on the benefits of sleep, both scientifically (m.c. schraefel went into this in detail in the Physical Performance Phase), and artistically (going back to the Surrealists and their obsession with dreams). In his Surrealist Manifesto, Breton states that sometimes the absence of an object causes us to question the object. We could say that this is your aim with time: only when we step outside the system of clocks and calendars do we see the absurdity of it. Participants in your Zeitgeber experiments (see the Wake-up Phase) discovered this: when their clocks were taken away, some people became obsessed with knowing what time it is. Many people, however, did not want their phones back; they were quite happy to step out and stay out of clock time (see Chapter 4 of Helga's (2020) book, as well as our co-authored publication (2021)).

According to Olivier Richon (2016), Head of Photography at the Royal College of Art in London, the concept of ‘practice as research’ denotes an anxiety; why not just research? Why, for example, distinguish between the visual and verbal? He notes that the Surrealists did not make such a distinction. (For example, Magritte.) 

In the Sleep Phase, there was only one thing for our event: Michaela French’s ‘Sleep Dome’. That is a great example because it began during her PhD research with me at the RCA. We started making full dome films with MA students, and then she started a Fulldome Research Group, which is still active. It is research in the best sense of purely artistic, rather than scientific, experimentation, and the results are always 360-degree films. 



Her Sleep Dome was a four-metre inflatable dome that could accommodate up to ten people laying down. And, as we discussed in the Sleepiness Phase, people did fall asleep in there, though not overnight.

Michaela created a new piece called ‘In Here Out There’, which features moving stars, flowers, and other shapes falling from the sky, as well as quotes from Walt Whitman and others. The title refers to something Federico Campagna said about perception and reality during his talk during the Intuitive Phase, that each of us creates our own world at every moment, thus connecting 'in here' and 'out there'. This connection happened entirely by chance. It also calls to mind Heinz von Foerster, who we mentioned in the Wake-up Phase. ‘In Here Out There’ is also a nice description of dreaming.

Her partner, Richard Godbold, composed the soundtrack for her film. The projector inside the dome overheated right before we opened the event, and it did not work until the next morning. (You could say that it went to sleep.) As a result, there was only audio for the evening portion. But you know what? Nobody seemed to mind. They were happy to come in and lay down, listen to the audio, and gaze at the dome. Michaela brought some coloured lights inside. People assumed that was the whole experience and were perfectly happy with it. 

Many people returned the next day, and they had a completely different experience with the film playing. But it just goes to show how people seem to welcome any opportunity to relax. We do not do it on our own; you need a push or trigger, like the external Zeitgeber I mentioned earlier. This is depicted in my book as someone pushing you on a swing, creating a certain rhythm. This 'push' is what makes sleep concerts, sleep pods, and other similar things so successful.



As we lay here in the middle of the night, let’s reflect on the event, the research, the process, the key questions, and the methods. Our research question was how we could change people's perceptions of time by treating it as a material and sculpting or moulding it using this event. Scientists like Debra (see Cognitive Performance Phase) conduct rigorous experiments with randomised groups and controlling for variables. But you cannot do what we have been doing in science. It is a different approach to a topic, and we are not looking for empirical findings. 

What is potentially original here is the use of these bodily phases as methods in and as artistic research for ourselves and to structure entire lives, rather than just as a means of designing spaces or events. Sleeping, for example, as a legitimate method for creating work or conducting research! It is not necessarily new; there are models of creativity (for example, from Graham Wallas) based on the idea that you do research, then sleep, and then you have this ‘aha moment’ in the morning. I believe scientific research supports this, that you should sleep before taking a test, for example. 



Yes, but not only sleep, but also movement, intuition, concentration, and so on; it is using all phases as methods, and not in a scientific way to increase productivity, but simply because you get different ideas and results at different times of day. There are numerous other factors to consider, including coffee and other drugs, your surroundings, health, financial situation, and so on. Artists already use movement, intuition, and other such skills in their practice and for research. The originality (and I realise we are speaking research council language here) I believe is in formalising these into actual methods; that is also the ‘rigour’ part that research councils value. In this regard, I believe that there is still work to be done.

However, spreading these methods to other artists, designers, and practitioners is also part of our goal (the ‘significance’ or ‘impact’ in research terms). This, I believe, is accomplished through our collaborations, and we hope that some of these practices are adopted by our collaborators. It is also worth noting that many of those who attend the events are artists or designers, including our students, and that is why try to incorporate uchronian thinking and practices into our teaching and curricula. I would also add that we hope that this exhibition will reach many artists and researchers through the Research Catalogue and the Journal for Artistic Research.

Longer term, the goal is to truly influence society at large, ideally by embedding these practices in everyone’s daily lives, and to move away from clocks and calendars and our entire embedded time system. This will take some time.



To summarise our findings to our research question: to treat time as a malleable material, one must first step outside of it, drawing attention to it as an artificial construct, a material. Previously, you accomplished this by removing people's clocks, as well as through the concept of Zeitgeber, time-giver, which is any external way of providing us with a certain rhythm. Time, according to Federico Campagna in his talk at this event, can be defined as the rhythm of 'worlding', which each of us does at all times. The primary external time-giver is the day-night cycle, which appears to have influenced even the smallest cells and life on Earth. Using that as a starting point, there are colours, bodily postures, and actions throughout the day, and your bodily phases are based on that. We then address these through materials and the senses for the event, recovering a sense of time through the senses, as Sarah Sze states. 

The atemporal event, then, is one method in your uchronian methodology, a methodology that, in Ruth Levitas' words, aims to ‘be otherwise’. It evolved through dialogue between us, with the artists, institutions, and suppliers with whom we collaborated, as well as with our tools and materials. This entails embracing multiple perspectives, whether through the relativity of the physics of time or by seeing through the eyes of others, as in UVA's VR installation that allows you to see through the eyes of an autistic person. To use Hartmut Rosa's (2016) phrase, social resonance develops through such alternative perspectives, as well as collaborative dialogue and actions, such as how our participants navigated sharing those big round beds. 

Thus, rational language is only one component of such dialogue or collaboration. How and how much you describe something can have a significant impact on how someone experiences it. However, language also entails going beyond description and into poetry and playfulness.

Dialogue with tools and materials also involves a poetic approach, drawing on Surrealism, for example. To treat time as a material, you can materialise it in matter, but you must also treat all matter (including humans) as ephemeral, temporary, and not fixed. Things and places as temporal and temporary, and time as a place: for example, rooms sized and adapted to different phases of the day, but not fixed: one room can change throughout the day to suit the Wake-up Phase or the Intuitive Phase. We worked with light, sound, fabrics, furniture, and the paper on which money is printed.

Then there are actions and activities. Drawing, for example, can be used to distort or represent time; time can be represented as linear, branching, points, or circular. Such actions and designed activities can influence how time moves: how it accelerates, slows down, stops, branches, or breaks into particles. Not only do we design activities for others, but we also take actions to shape our own time.

This, we contend, is programming, both in the sense of programming an event and computationally programming the future. It is performance not only in the programmatic, theatrical sense, but also in the way things and people perform. Rhythm, then, as a programming tool, whether musical rhythms or changing daily rhythms. For example, 'How long is now?' 

Transitions are something interesting here. Byung-Chul Han (2017) discusses the loss of transitions, which are places where meaning is created in relation to things and events. For example, the transition from dreaming to waking. However, the design of transitions is an area for future research. 

Finally, when we consider time’s malleability, what kind of material do we imagine it to be: clay-like, solid, liquid, or gaseous? When matter undergoes a state change, such as when boiling water or heating something in an oven, such as in a cake. (Because of time’s irreversibility, a cake cannot be unbaked back into its individual ingredients.) But, speaking of cake (you are a keen baker), we can consider how to fill time, qualitatively not quantitatively, by adding depth and thickening. However, there can be multiple times at once, in our heads, on our phones, in things and materials, with their own timescales. 



We did not conduct a summative or scientific evaluation of the event to determine whether or not our participants 'got' any of these concepts. However, because we were working with an education and events team at Somerset House, they did. We know that 355 people between the ages of 25 and 59 attended the event. 75 percent were 'intellectually stimulated', 67 percent were 'inspired', and 50 percent learned something new. The venue described the event as having a 'Brilliant overall outcome, atmosphere, experiential environment, aesthetics’ with 'plenty to participate in across ages, learning styles and interests, academic, vocational, social, artists, industry’. They said that the event 'certainly represented new approaches and perspectives to time and rhythm through each of the activities and formats'. 

That is all nice, and we can see where we might be able to improve some of those audience figures. But, more importantly, we are interested in the broader concept of challenging and replacing clocks and calendars on a large scale. This may necessitate more events in different locations and with different audiences. However, we will also conduct large-scale experiments online (read about our subsequent project in Schmid and Walker 2021), possibly communicating with other audiences through publications or talks. I would also like to create the Circadian Space (described in Chapter 6 of my book(2020)), of which this event was a pilot study, a bespoke space in which we could conduct more and longer experiments, as well as a public exhibition space and a research institute. 

We can return to Byung-Chul Han's concept of the vita contemplativa, which we discuss in the Wake-up Phase. He discusses it in his book (2017) in relation to Hannah Arendt, who promoted the vita activa, which she equated with political action: 'To act means to begin something altogether new', he paraphrases her (Han 2017, p. 102). This is a deliberate act, not just automatic labour. Han agrees with her; he is opposed to what he refers to as 'hyperactive restlessness', which he believes characterises much of today’s society. For him, the vita contemplativa is not without movement or action; such action, he says, is in intellectual operations; it prompts action. 'In temporal terms,' he continues, 'acting means letting time begin anew. Its essence is revolution.’

As a general call to action, a copy of my Uchronia Manifesto is included below.

Helga's Uchronia Manifesto (PDF)