Powers of Time: A Studio Dealing with the Relative Duration of Things in the Universe and the Effects of Adding Another Thing
Advanced Research Studio

In Powers of Ten: A Film Dealing with the Relative Size of Things in the Universe and the Effects of Adding Another Zero, Ray and Charles Eames explored the way daily life was produced through different size scales in the universe, from the subatomic level to beyond the Milky Way. This studio attempted a similar exploration—one in which time, rather than size, was the primary concern. Time is fluid and its materiality irreducible. To paraphrase Sanford Kwinter, time has been expressed historically through rationalized accounting practices, but these are mere tools meant to abstract and measure the senseless procession of events in nature.

Advanced graduate and undergraduate students worked in groups on sites where mass extinction—a better term for ‘global warming’—was most visible: a town in the arctic circle, a city along the coast, or another place exhibiting important signs of environmental unrest. These sites were selected and documented by the students. Then, each team was asked to respond to the trauma of extinction by instrumentalizing time, designing a single project through a series of architectures that ranged in duration from a few seconds to several years and even deep time.