Although communication networks offer the possibility of a distributed
community that can collaborate and exchange vital information, there
is little time for these collaborations and exchanges to occur.
Ironically, the same technology that makes distributed community
a possibility and promised to save us time prevents us from actually
having time to build community. Distributed presence, inevitably
moves us towards group consciousness, which shifts our perception
of time and even productivity. This essay uses a large collaborative
networked art piece "notime" as an example of how the creative process
shifts when working on the networks. The project attempts to rethink
the idea of the avatar as a physical representation to that of energetic
bodies carrying information and evolving with the time people devote
to participating, on site and online. Notime is conceived to raise
questions about our perception of time and identity as we extend
our personal networks through technology.
Against this dream or nightmare of the body as information, what
alternatives exist? We can see beyond this dream, I have argued,
by attending to the material interfaces and technologies that make
disembodiment such a powerful illusion. By adopting a double vision
that looks simultaneously at the power of simulation and the materiality's
that produce it, we can better understand the implications of articulating
posthuman constructions together with embodied actualities. (Hayles,
Three qualities are necessary for work on the networks: a need
to connect, a willingness to collaborate, and the ability to embrace
the fact that the work may change form and be re-appropriated in
the process. In other words, this type of work requires letting
go of the idea of "control" we inherited from the cybernetic / industrial
approach to computing. As we move into the age of bio-informatics,
these systems are clearly not working for the advancement of social
consciousness or collective intelligence. Social networking, on
or off line is directly connected to our relationship to time. The
project notime is conceived to raise questions about our perception
of time and identity as we extend our personal networks through
technology. It is designed to address problems most specific to
the Western human condition that seems to be entering a crisis because
of its particular stress on productivity and efficiency in structuring
time.  The very technology that has promised to save us time
has overextended us beyond what we are biologically equipped to
handle, and there is less and less time to socialize, to think,
to be in a space where there is no constructed time related to efficiency
Much of time measurement, including the calculation of minutes
and seconds, has moved into an abstract realm that is a figment
of our collective imaginations. But it is the atomic clock that
truly illustrates the height of the rationalistic subdivisions of
time. It measures how long it takes an electron of an atom to pass
from one energy state to another. Since no one is able to see individual
atoms, they are measured collectively and statistically. Furthermore,
energy levels, even electrons and atoms are metaphors devised as
a way of explaining microscopic behavior of nature. The atomic second
became the official world time standard in 1967, dividing time into
milli, micro, pico and femto seconds. This concept of natural oscillation
of microscopic matter as a time standard has entered the everyday
public life in the form of a digital watch and the world of computing.
As we approached the year 2000, The End of the World as We Know
It (teowawki) was pronounced on the net. The millennium bug paranoia
was different however from the millennial movements in the past
-- it was a tangible problem hardwired into the very fabric of our
society, directly connected to communication networks. (Poulsen,
1997, pg.168) Yet in its fatalistic premise it certainly overlapped
with many religious movements, and, ironically, may be what raised
our consciousness of connectivity and the complexity of global networks
we are all part of. It was disappointing to find that most discussion
on the subject largely revolved around bug fixes, remedies and reports,
rather than exploring the meaning of that collective fear. This
moment that threatened to create havoc by disconnecting parts of
the system made many acutely aware of our interdependency on computer
networks. Finance systems and the global corporate structures, arguably
the most tangibly related to computing networks, were particularly
worried because of their inherently shaky foundations. It is well
known that much of market oscillations are based on purely psychological
aspects -- there are many instances where the market is thrown off
balance in one direction or other by rumors, not fact. Although
the fatalistic visions of the millennial bug did not come true,
it is quite possible that a collective realization and the resulting
fear of being disconnected could have ever so slightly shifted our
perception of time and networks. Perhaps because so many predictions
now seem silly, the discussion around this phenomenon has been muted.
It is after all, embarrassing when one considers the stories, rumors
and the large amount of resources allocated to "fix" this problem
in the West. To me, it remained an inspiring moment, particularly
when conceptualizing a piece that deals with social networks and
time. In fact, the core of the "notime" project is rooted in that
"Y2K moment". I wondered how to approach developing a work that
prompts questions of our relation to time in connection to technology
and points to how fragile our system are? And the real challenge
was to develop a way in which audiences become aware of the fact
that one fearful thought, one rumor, one meme  can spark of a
ripple of change in our consciousness.
Physicists Per Bak and Kan Chen, wrote a decade ago that systems
as large and as complicated as the earth's crust, the stock market,
and the ecosystem are not only impacted by the force of a mighty
blow but also at a drop of a pin. (Bak and Chan,1991, pg. 46) Large
interactive systems perpetually organize themselves to a critical
state in which a minor event starts a chain reaction that can lead
to a catastrophe.  Along with their colleague Chao Tang, they
proposed a theory of self-organized criticality: many composite
systems naturally evolve to a critical state in which a minor event
starts a chain reaction that can affect a number of elements in
the system. Chain reactions are an integral part of a dynamic system.
Y2K, then, was a symptom of such a pin, and it was directly related
to computing and time. It was a meme. Memes, as coined by Dawkins,
are ideas that are passed on from one human generation to another.
They are the cultural equivalent of a gene, the basic element of
biological inheritance, it is a contagious idea that replicates
like a virus, passed on from mind to mind. Meme is the root word
of "memetics," a field of study, which postulates that
the meme is the basic unit of cultural evolution. Memes function
the same way genes and viruses do, propagating through communication
networks and face-to-face contact between people. A meme is a cognitive
or behavioral pattern that can be transmitted from one individual
to another one. Since the individual who transmitted the meme will
continue to carry it, the transmission can be interpreted as a replication:
a copy of the meme is made in the memory of another individual,
making him or her into a carrier of the meme. This process of self-reproduction,
leading to spreading over a growing group of individuals, defines
the meme as a replicator, similar in that respect to the gene.
"Life," materialized as information and signified by the gene,
displaces "Nature," pre-eminently embodied and signified by the
old-fashioned organisms. From the point of view of the Gene, a self-replicating
auto-generator, "the whole is not the sum of its parts, [but] the
parts summarize the whole." (Haraway, 1998, pg. 183)
In 1944, Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961), an Austrian physicist who
developed wave mechanics  and received a Nobel prize as a result,
wrote a short book entitled What is Life? In that book, Schrodinger
advanced a hypothesis about the molecular structure of genes, stimulating
biologists to think about genetics in novel ways and ultimately
opening a new frontier of science known as molecular biology. This
new field has played a key role in unravelling our genetic code,
ushering us into an age where we began perceiving our own physical
architecture as "information." That same year, George R. Stibitz
of the Bell Telephone laboratories produced the very first general-purpose,
relay operated, digital computer. (Goldstein, 1993, pg. 115-116).
We are now at the threshold of entering an age of biologically driven
computers and can only anticipate that this will entail an enormous
paradigm shift from industrial-based digital mechanics to ubiquitous
computing that could become true extensions of our bodies. But we
are also inheriting a technology that is dangerously repeating the
Western notions of separation of mind and body, often privileging
information over flesh.
Alan Turing's classic paper "Computer Machinery and Intelligence"
in which he proposed the famous "imitation game" marked the beginning
of many experiments that blur flesh and machine. Katherine Hayles
called this an inaugural moment of the computer age when "the erasure
of embodiment is performed so that "intelligence" becomes property
of the formal manipulation of symbols rather than enaction of the
human life world" (xi). That same year, Norbert Wiener envisioned
a day when a human being could be telegraphically transported (Wiener,
pg.103). Forty years later, Hans Moravec proposed that machines
become repositories for human consciousness. And Stelarc, a performance
artist who had been exploring the boundaries of his body since the
late 1960s moved seamlessly into experimentation with the Internet.
Stelarc's artistic strategy revolved around the idea of "enhancing
the body" in both physical and technical ways. His work encompassed
polar opposites—the "primal desire" to defeat the force of
gravity using primitive rituals and hi-tech technologies like the
third arm. Stelarc makes radical statements, such as "the body is
In a post human paradigm, humans are perceived as information,
as evidenced by both the Visible Human and Human Genome Projects,
or as information processing entities. In both cases the "human"
is abstracted. If we juxtapose these assumptions with late capitalism
moving away from durable product to information, we can easily translate
this to the art world's dematerialization of object. This could
be celebrated as a victory of conceptual movements, or seen as a
dangerous intersection where information about us is being collected,
stored and databased, without the opportunity for us to choose,
or to know or accept either its worth or its consequences.
The most human related project, dealing with the genome is intricately
connected to the not only the power of computing but conceptually
as well. Watson and Crick explicitly described DNA in computer terms
as the genetic "code," comparing the egg cell to a computer tape.
This school of thought is perpetuated in even more extreme terms
by proponents of Artificial Life such as Chris Langton, who speaks
of separating the "informational content" of life from its "material
substrate." (Langton, 1989) As Richard Coyne notes: "Information
is thought to be the essence of life, as in the DNA code. To record
and break the code is to have mastery over life." (Coyne, 1995.
Haraway, on the other hand, identifies gene mapping a particular
kind of spatialization, she calls "corporealization," which she
defines as "the interactions of humans and non-humans in the distributed,
heterogeneous work processes of technoscience . . .. The work processes
result in specific material-semiotic bodies—or natural-technical
objects of knowledge and practice—such as cells, genes, organisms,
viruses and ecosystems." (Haraway, 1998, pg. 186). Information topographies
are emerging in the biological sciences mapping the human body or
the genome and the computer sciences mapping the information activities
on the networks. Turning to biological principles in relation to
our social interactions may be the key to a more organic, human
way to look at information. For instance, biologists such as Francesco
Varela and Lynn Margulis are questioning what relationships our
own bodily architecture and our societal organizations have to underlying
biological principles. An entire field of consciousness studies
is questioning what we know now about neurons in our brain and
their relationship to consciousness.
In January 1998, Donald E. Ingber  published an article in Scientific
Americanin which he makes the extraordinary claim that he has
recognized a universal set of building principles that guide the
design of organic structures, from simple carbon compounds to complex
cells and tissues. In his article Ingber states "identifying and
describing the molecular puzzle pieces will do little if we do not
understand the rules of their assembly."( 1998, pg. 30) For two
decades he discovered and explored the fundamental aspects of self-assembly.
For example, in the human body large molecules self-assemble into
cellular components known as organelles, which self-assemble into
cells, which self-assemble into tissues. Ingber discovered that
an astoundingly wide variety of natural systems including carbon
atoms, water molecules, proteins, viruses, cells, tissues, humans
and other living creatures are constructed by a common form of architecture
known as tensegrity.
Tensegrity takes us back to Black Mountain College in 1948, where
Buckminster Fuller taught. It was this innovative college where
Fuller met and worked with Kenneth Snelson, now an internationally
renowned sculptor, then a young student who came under his spell
along with John Cage and many others. Deeply inspired by Fuller,
Snelson came up with a prototype employing discontinuous compression
which Fuller later coined tensegrity. Tensegrity (Tensional Integrity)
was at the heart of Fuller's Universe. After some time passed, Fuller
ceased to credit Snelson for the prototype, causing a deep rift
between the two for decades.
Ingber writes: " . . . in the complex tensegrity structure inside
every one of us, bones are the compression struts, and muscles,
tendons, and ligaments are the tension-bearing members. At the
other end of the scale, proteins and other key molecules in the
body also stabilize themselves through the principles of tensegrity."
(1998, pg. 32) Using a simple tensegrity model of a cell built with
dowels and elastic cords, he shows how tensegrity structures mimic
the known behaviour of living cells. A tensegrity structure, like
that of a living cell, flattens itself and its nucleus when it attaches
itself to a rigid surface and retracts into a more spherical shape
on a flexible substrate. Understanding the mechanics of cellular
structures could lead to new approaches to cancer therapy and tissue
repair and perhaps even to the creation of artificial tissue replacements.
(Ingber,1998, pp. 30-39.)
Ingber talks about Fuller in his article and about the molecule
that was named after him, the buckminsterfullerene or the buckyball,
and has been well acquainted with the work of Snelson as well as
Fuller. In 1983, he writes a letter to Fuller in which he states:
The beauty of life is once again that of geometry with spatial
constraints as the only unifying principle. It is of interest to
note that, as presented in the accompanying paper, cancer may be
then viewed as the opposite of life resulting from a breakdown of
this geometric hierarchy of synergetic arrangements. (Edmunson,
1987, pg. 257.)
In 1962 when chemist Sir Aaron Klug observed geodesic structuring
of viruses and wrote to Fuller telling him of his discovery. Fuller
wrote back immediately with the formula for the number of nodes
on a shell (10f + 2, varying according to frequency) as confirmation
of Klug's hypothesis, and Klug answered that the values were consistent
with the virus research. (Edmunson, 1987, pg. 239) It is important
to note that geodesic domes were utilized worldwide fifteen years
before electron microscopy enabled detection of virus capsids. In
1982, Klug won a Nobel prize for his "structural elucidation of
important nucleic acid-protein complexes," and has been described
as a "biological map maker," a Magellan "charting the infinitely
complex structures of body's largest molecules." (Associated Press,
Whereas cells were regarded as the basic building blocks of living
organisms during the nineteenth century, the attention shifted from
cells to molecules toward the middle of the twentieth century, when
geneticists began to explore the molecular structure of the gene.
Biologists were discovering that the characteristics of all living
organisms—from bacteria to humans—were encoded in their
chromosomes in the same chemical substance and using the same code
script. After two decades of research, biologists have unravelled
the precise details of this code. But while they may know the precise
structure of a few genes, they know very little of the ways these
genes communicate and cooperate in the development of an organism.
Similarly, computer scientists may be well versed in networked technologies
but have no idea as to why the Internet exploded as it did—naturally,
spontaneously. No one does.
The most common organizational pattern identified in all systems
is networking. All living systems are arranged in a network fashion.
Since the 1920's when ecologists began studying food chains, recognition
of networks became essential to many scholars, in different forms.
Cyberneticists in particular tried to understand the brain as a
neural network and to analyse its patterns. The structure of the
brain is enormously complex, containing about 10 billion nerve cells
(neurons), which are interlinked in a vast network through 1,000
billion junctions (synapses). The whole brain can be divided into
subnetworks that communicate with each other in a network fashion.
All this results in intricate patterns of intertwined webs, networks
nesting within larger networks. (Varela, 1991, pg. 94)
In parallel to major advances in gene mapping, a growing number
of researchers are working on visualizing the network geographies
on the Internet, mapping various data use. As the networks continue
to expand with unbelievable speed, systems administrators increasingly
look more to visual representation of data to give them a quick
overview of the local or global network status. Martin Dodge at
the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College, London,
has put together an impressive array of various research efforts
to visualize the net.  Network topology maps typically show things
such as traffic information flow; however more and more scholars
are recognizing the value of visualizing network topologies for
analysing social, demographic, and political information flow. This
is the beginning of mapping our online societies and viewing ourselves
as a particular organism, clearly a rich territory for artists working
on the networks.
Molecular biology has moved us towards a perception of our physical
selves as information and the genetic decoding of our bodies has
further emphasized this tendency. The question is how to humanize
the information once again, and avoid viewing the graphical representations
as pure pattern. As Katherine Hayles argues, information was defined
as pattern by Claude Shannon, founder of information theory, and
resulted in abstracting information from a material base that meant
it was unaffected by changes or context . Just as graphical representations
of ourselves in cyberspace, the avatars, are merely masks for our
databases, so too these topologies can become abstracted maps, suffering
the same fate of geographical maps. The problem I faced echoed Varela's
question of emergent selves, "the paradox between the solidity of
what appears to show up and its groundlessness." I decided to attempt
to make a move from the graphical representation of the physical
body to the energetic body, using the principles of "energetic geometry,"
Whether communication is by telephone hook-up or by wireless radio,
what you and I transmit is only weightless metaphysical information.
Metaphysical, information appreciative, you and I are not the telephones
nor the wire or wireless means of the metaphysical information transmitting.
(Fuller, 1975, Synergestic Dictionary, 326.05)
Just as relationships are shifting due to networks, so too is the
creative process for those working on the net and the meaning of
collaboration changes drastically. The word collaboration assumes
a very different meaning when there is lack of time for synchronous
communication while we are bombarded with too much information.
Collaboration happens in many ways, and unfortunately for those
who would like a clearly organized world, there is no one straight
formula. As creative projects using technology get more elaborate,
the need to work with others is simply a necessity. Remote collaboration
with people who never met physically is already widely practiced
by the open source community in particular. Programmers can easily
offer service without being on site and artists can consciously
plan projects in which the audience become an integral part of the
piece and even play an important role in its development. This,
together with the fact that new generations who grew up with games
and interactivity are expecting a different type of interaction,
has great implications in the art world and in the academic environment
at large that has traditionally nurtured the idea of a "individual".
Notime is a collaborative piece at its core and it would have not
taken on the form it did if it wasn't for the Internet. My research
into tensegrity structures led me to believe that if this principle
works in physical architectures (as in Buckminster Fuller's domes
and Kenneth Snelson's sculptures), and are the basis of cellular
and molecular architectures, as Ingber discovered, the same principles
should be applied to networked information spaces. I started imagining
how these spaces could look and function, and was very inspired
to start experimenting with visualization of social networks. However,
I was having enormous difficulty finding someone who could both
program and understand this type of system. This was not simply
a matter of programming skills – it was a philosophical issue.
I was looking for an information architect who understood conceptually
what I was interested in. While researching on the web, I discovered
the work of Gerald de Jong, a programmer artist working in Holland.
De Jong had authored software called "struck," which later morphed
into "fluidiom" (fluid idiom), and was actively engaged in programming
dynamic tensegrity structures. In this system, synergetic geometry
or "elastic interval geometries," as de Jong calls them, are used
to model arbitrary database information for visualization and decision
making purposes, as well as for the creation of effective and aesthetic
presentation graphics and web applications. The fluidiom project's
inspiration was directly linked with Buckminster Fuller's comprehensive
scientific philosophy, Synergistics. 
The fluidiom project was exactly what I was looking for, and in
February 2000, I contacted de Jong via email, introducing my research
and concept. Gerald was already thinking of creating networked human
information architectures, using "energetic geometries." A month
after our initial contact, he came to Los Angeles and we spent a
week working together on how our ideas could connect creatively.
It seemed that some of my concepts and aesthetics were a perfect
vehicle for the tensegrity structures he had been developing using
the Java programming language. It was almost strange to both of
us how we came to a similar place, although from very different
angles, and we knew that both of us stood to gain something from
working together. From that point on, we collaborated remotely and
did not meet again until the opening of our first exhibition. At
UCLA, I also had begun collaborating with David Beaudry, a Ph.D.
student in music who moved seamlessly between his clarinet and programming
spatialized sound. David composed the soundscapes for the physical
installation, programmed video tracking and worked on the online
sound too. These two talented people started working together on
the net on the sound, meeting for the first time just days before
the exhibition to set up the work. The three of us are the core
of the collaboration, which expanded when we started to install
the physical site. 
notime evolved from an earlier online participatory project,
Bodies INCorporated, which was audience driven and much of it
was developed as a response to certain demands and comments that
radically shifted my creative process and thinking about future
This transition is enacted in the collapse of the avatar bodies
from Bodies INC to a tetrahedron, a minimum building block in nature.
The most persistent demand from the growing number of people who
created bodies in Bodies INCorporated (now at over 50,000) was the
need for "community," and for a way allowing participating
members to communicate with each other. This made me examine the
meaning of community on the net and, compelled me to extensively
research the existing efforts to create communal spaces on the web.
What very quickly became apparent to me is that the recent efforts
to build communities on the net are inexorably connected to e-commerce
and that the architects of these spaces are following models of
malls and credit card systems. Thus, people shopping and having
similar tastes are the basis of such communities and they are increasingly
using agent technologies to search through endless data based on
their personal information. Yet, while these agents are supposedly
empowering us as users, we don't know how or where our information
flows and these information streams tend to remain out of reach
and invisible. Few people realize how quickly entire histories can
be reconstructed from credit cards and social security numbers that
people submit for economic transactions. When I asked myself who
the people are that I would like to create community with, I realized
that they would largely be composed of people who have very little
time--in fact, the more interesting the people, the less time they
seem to have. Thus it seemed to me that the logical conclusion was
to conceptualize an environment that would act autonomously, largely
independent of direct real-time human interaction, and not requiring
direct participation by those who are represented by the information
they carry. In notime, databases, and the resultant database aesthetics,
would in fact become the representation of people and interaction
in this community space. By exploring innovative ways of visualizing
the trajectories of evolving human networks in relation to information,
access and navigation, we will explore our relationship to time
and the meaning of community in networked public space. New methods
of management, known as molecular and nano-political, shift focus
from planned communities, to emergent communities.
These types of communities require the technical infrastructure
that allows for real-time collective intelligence work.
I was interested in working with Gerald to utilize these principles
of tensegrity for envisioning a different type of body, an "energetic
body," meaning a body that is networked and built from information,
but not dehumanized. Together we arrived to the idea of beginning
to evolve a person's data body from an initial tetrahedron structure.
The tetrahedron is a natural starting point, or "whole system,"
in Fuller's "Cosmic Hierarchy," and as such contains the
axes of symmetry that characterize all the polyhedra of the isotropic
vector matrix, or face-centered cubic symmetry in crystallography.
Fuller refers to the six edges of a tetrahedron as one "quantum"
of structure, because the number of edges in regular, semiregular,
and high-frequency geodesic polyhedra is always a multiple of six.
(Edmunson, 1987) I decided to embed some meaning in the intervals
of the tetrahedron by connecting to the Eastern representations
of the energy centers, specifically the Chakra system. "Chakras,"
which mean "wheels" in Sanskrit, are points of energy believed to
run along our spine. Ancient Hindus formulated that there were seven
of these energy wheels, each a different color and spinning in a
clockwise direction. Interestingly enough, the spacing of chakras
actually matches major nerve or endocrine centers, while the colors
correspond to the electromagnetic spectrum.
Gerald refers to the geometric lines as intervals of time when
discussing the structures he was programming in java – evolution
only happens in time intervals as represented in the emerging shapes.
The initial structure has all the base elements for the architecture
of the project – six intervals related to time and four memes
relates to the four letters of the genome project (a.t.c.g). The
six intervals of time connect to perfectly to Freeman Dyson's thesis
that every human being is a product of adaptation to the demands
of six time scales: years (individual); decades (family); centuries
(tribe/nation); millennia (culture); tens of millennia (species)
and eons (whole web of life on our planet. (Dyson, 1992. pg. 341)
It is based on the idea of constant evolution and change, just as
the six intervals of the I Ching hexagrams.
Construction of the initial tetrahedron
Participants are invited to spend a few minutes to create their
initial minimum structure, a tetrahedron, by determining the length
of the six intervals that have a base color and meaning attached
to them: red represents family, orange: finances; yellow: creativity;
green: love; blue: communication; violet: spirituality. The time
a person spends on deciding the length of a particular interval
is registered and has an effect on the speed of replication. After
determining the length, they input four memes in the nexus of the
lines and then, as a last step, attach sounds from a library created
by David Beaudry. When the structures are in motion, the combination
of the chosen sounds with the determined lengths of intervals creates
a unique composition for each person. The four initial ideas are
meant as a starting point. Since the person who initiated the building
is too busy to spend time adding ideas, he or she invites people
from their own personal network to add memes to the structure. This
becomes a natural filtering system – only people whose ideas
one trusts will most likely be invited to contribute to their notime
body. Addition of memes takes place only online and cannot happen
unless people on site viewing the structure on the physical site
generate intervals. Each notime body becomes a chat room space where
people can meet. Conversations are interrupted with random quotes
dealing with time and the genome project.
Intervals replicate and keep evolving into a complex structure
by the interaction of others who spend the time in the museum or
gallery, navigating the structures with their bodies, in "real time".
Thus the physical and online spaces are interdependent. Because
we are limited biologically to having a personal network of 300-500
people, it is programmed to implode when it reaches that point of
information overflow. This moment is dramatized by an announcement
to the entire community that is made aware of the event of implosion.
The old body is stored and can be accessed for view only, but is
not dynamic anymore. It is archived. At that point the person who
owned the notime body has a choice of beginning from the same initial
tetrahedron, create a new one or not continue the cycle. The decision
is also announced to the community via email.
Initially there was no plan to build a physical structure for the
piece, but as we progressed in our development it became clear that
there was a need to control the light and sound. Further, since
the notime was scheduled to travel with the "Telematic Connections"
exhibition,  it became necessary to consider that the spaces
will change with each location. The idea of simply building a box
was not only unsatisfactory but ran contrary to the entire to the
entire philosophy of the informational architecture. I summoned
sculptor Tim Quinn to help build a structure that would reflect
the work rather than simply be a "black box." Although I would have
preferred to have a true tensile structure that is lightweight and
easily transportable, we had to settle for using steel for the spiral
structure. With the addition of this massive structure, the project
made a major shift towards deliberately making the connectivity
and dependency on networks a physical experience.
For physical installations, in addition to the undetermined online
audience, specific people are highlighted depending on the specific
site and context. The physical installation of notime allows the
audience to navigate these structures with their bodies via sensors.
The experience of time and no time is heightened in the physical
structure whose base is shaped as a spiral and creates an enclosed
atmospheric space with projections and a reactive 3D sound environment
working in conjunction with the elastic interval geometry. By spending
time navigating, participants add intervals that replicate from
the initial tetrahedron shape.
Notime is a long term project with many phases envisioned. 
The description of the project in this paper is merely in relation
to what inspired its concept, and the foundation of the piece based
on time intervals, memes, tensegrity principles embodied in a tetrahedron
– the minimum structure that nature employs in many of its
architectures. The main goal is to move towards embodied information,
with all its human qualities, no matter how messy and problematic
they may be. As the physical installation moves from site to site,
new groups of people connected to that particular space and time
would be highlighted. They will include their personal network by
design and necessarily involve the audience who will also join the
building a community of people with no time. Eventually new lighter
materials will be used for the physical structures that will reside
in many locations simultaneously. Extreme experiences are planned:
complete immersion in notime data bodies together with others in
physical locations and instant updates on hand-held devices.
Although inspired by the Y2K moment and a basic question of how
we can build community when we are all so busy, no time is really
moving towards a space of no time. It is a project to which authors,
be they the artists and programmers collaborating to develop the
architecture, or people who participate, breathe life into it with
their attention and time.
1. For instance, the year 2000, anticipated with great fear in
the West, was year 6236 according to the first Egyptian calendar;
5119 according to the current Mayan Great Cycle; 2753 according
to the old Roman calendar; 2749 according to the ancient Babylonian
calendar; 2544 according to the Buddhist calendar; 1997 according
to Christ's actual birth (circa 4 B.C.); 1716 according to the Coptic
calendar; 1378 according to the Persian calendar; 208 according
to the French Revolutionary calendar; and the Year of the Dragon
according to the Chinese calendar.
2. The term was coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins in his book The
Selfish Gene. Dawkins speculated that human beings have an adaptive
mechanism that other species don't have. In addition to genetic
inheritance with its possibilities and limitations, humans, said
Dawkins, can pass their ideas from one generation to than through
the longer process of genetic adaptation and selection. Examples
of memes might include the idea of God; the importance of the individual
as opposed to group importance; the belief that the environment
can to some extent be controlled; or that technologies can create
an electronically interconnected world community. Today, the word
is sometimes applied ironically to ideas deemed to be of passing
value. Dawkins himself described such short-lived ideas as memes
that would have a short life in the meme pool.
3. In 1990, Glenn A. Held and his colleagues at the IBM Thomas
J. Watson Research Centre devised an ingenious experiment with sand
piles that put this theory to the test. They constructed an apparatus
that added one grain of sand at a time to a pile of sand. The balance
had a precision of .0001 gram and a capacity of 100 grams. Each
grain of sand weighed about .0006 gram; a sand pile whose base was
four centimeters in diameter weighed approximately 15 grams. The
group used a personal computer to control the motor and to monitor
the balance. Held and his group ran the experiment for two weeks,
dropping more than 35,000 grains of sand on the four centimetre
plate. They observed avalanches in a range of sizes. (Held et al.,
4. Wave mechanics are the version of quantum physics that was developed
initially by Erwin Schródinger in 1926. The idea came from
the work of Louis de Broglie via Albert Einstein. De Broglie pointed
the way to wave mechanics with his idea that electron waves "in
orbit" around an atomic nucleus had to fit a whole number of wavelengths
into each orbit, so that the wave neatly bit its own tail, like
the alchemical symbol of the worm Ouroboros. (Gribbin, J. 1999.
5. Stelarc's work can be seen at: http://stelarc.net
6. In addition to being a professor in pathology and a member of
Bioengineering at MIT, Donald Ingber is the founder of Molecular
Geodesics, Inc., a company that creates advanced materials with
biologically inspired properties.
7. Cyber Geography can be accessed at www.cybergeography.org
8. Claude Shannon, along with Warren Weaver, laid the foundation
of modern information theory. See: Shannon, Claude, and Warren Weaver.
The Mathematical Theory of Communication. 1949. ForForeword by Richard E. Blahut and Bruce Hajek. Urbana: U. of Illinois P.,
9. Synergistics shows how we may measure our experiences geometrically
and topologically and how we may employ geometry and topology to
coordinate all information regarding our experiences, both metaphysical
and physical. Information can be either conceptually metaphysical
or quantitatively special case physical experiencing, or it can
be both. The quantized physical case is entropic, while the metaphysical
generalized conceptioning induced by the generalized content of
the information is syntropic. The resulting mind-appreciated syntropy
evolves to anticipatorily terminate the entropically accelerated
disorder. (Fuller, "Synergistics Dictionary". 200.06 ).
10. We were joined by Ruth West, a graduate student in Design |
Media Arts who was a geneticist for eight years before starting
her graduate studies; Ingo Tributh, a information studies in economics
student from Germany and Burt Peng, a student from the film department
11. Telematic Connections: the Virtual Embrace is curated by Steve
12. Notime is commissioned by the Walker Art Center and sponsored
by the Independent Curators International and the UCLA Academic
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