Time is an enigmatic concept, both personal and universal, that plays a crucial role in coordinating our lives. Throughout history, humans have developed diverse and context-specific methods for measuring time, often deeply connected to nature and cultural traditions. However, contemporary timekeeping tools tend to impose a rigid and standardized version of time, disregarding our subjective experience of it. As a result, we miss the connection between time, nature, and ourselves.
To broaden people's perspectives and challenge the dominant model of time, my thesis project delves into the ancient timekeeping systems of Egypt and China, ranging from a time system based on watching the sky in the very beginning then using sundials in days and star charts at night, to water clocks and sand clocks working the whole day.
In order to make this knowledge accessible and engaging, I designed a mobile application that introduces the possibility of applying these ancient timekeeping systems in modern society. By including functionality such as visualizing time using ancient timekeeping devices and setting alarm systems in different ancient time units, the application allows users to experiment with different ancient time systems in a playful and interactive way, gaining insight into the past cultural and ecological contexts that have shaped our relationship with time. It offers an opportunity for those feeling constrained by the standard 24/7 time system to explore new ways of experiencing time and for those fascinated by the mysteries of time to discover novel perspectives.