Clepsydra Gallerie

Author’s description:

Throughout our existence, humans have strived to create an order of things surrounding us. The resultant quanta is a world of existence marked by events; active moments which we can experience and measure by. One may immediately think that time is the device by which all of this can be dictated. This is true to an extent, but this is not how it has always been. To describe the world honestly, this time variable is not required. What is required are the variables that actually describe it: quantities that we can perceive, observe, and eventually measure. The length of a road, the height of a tree,[…] These are the terms in which we describe the world.1 In the past we were much more in tune with our natural surroundings these nature-based datum. This awareness gave way to being better stewards to such, with eye and ear and senses toward the biological cadence of nature. Our intimate relationship with water has vastly degraded until now, where only recently it has become a well known fact that the ocean is changing in several ways, and quickly.

Now, more than ever, we need to be retuned with our waters and what they are telling us. Is there were a way to employ again water as a time/space datum, and if so, what would it tell us? A lost art and technology, the transposing of water as data, was in the form of a clock for millenia. This was so prevalent through time, the mechanical term CLEPSYDRA was given to our musings. Giving new form to the ubiquitous waters, and the old clock mechanisms, a clepsydra for the public square is needed for several reasons. In a time where we need to be in tune and in stride with our oceans, this architecture will allow us to allay the global pandemic of rising waters. Utilized as a tool to implement change, as a didactic device which gives an augmented and translated voice to our environment, this system can display real time water characteristics through a beautiful performance in the public’s view.

Actuators attached under coastal piers wirelessly transmit signals, driving the armature of an architecture residing in adjacent city centers. Aggregated via LIDAR and related probes, data such as tides, fetch, swells, and temperature can be shared locally and globally over time. Giving representation to the physical forms of the ocean, the materials transpose this four-fold information from their condensed median zenith and nadir data into the slowly morphing architecture. The resultant display of shape and size formed by its internal armature, made visible by the skin that slowly morphs into didactic forms. Creating an educational awareness of the oceans’ habits and change through active, dynamic shapes, this architecture may be one of the greatest tools in implementing change in quelling the rising tides. Prompting stewardship both locally and globally, this haptic interface is a datum and voice of the environment we as humans reside in, and will for generations to come.

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