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Sense of Time

To what extent does the way we represent time reflect mind-independent, objective features of temporal reality, and what is subjective in our representation of time? Where there is subjectivity, what is fixed (perhaps biologically determined) and what is malleable, optional, and culturally determined? 

Sense-of-Time1Sense of Time couples the practice of design and philosophy to actively investigate how answers to these questions might influence how we choose to occupy time. A series of design prototypes and experiments will illustrate a spectrum of perspectives on time drawing upon scientific, biological, astronomical, cultural, technological, philosophical and psychological ideas and observations related to our perception of time and our conceptual models of time.

Ted Hunt began the project Sense of Time as self-initiated design research into the breadth of perspectives of time perception in 2015 following a conversation regarding the differing visual representation systems in perspectives of space with his course Professor at the Royal College of Art, Anthony Dunne. This work was then revisited in 2017 and migrated from illustrative diagrams into the universally recognised format of watch face designs. These designs formed the basis of a series of conversations between Ted Hunt and Professor Matthew Soteriou, of King's College London, which immediately uncovered overlaps between shared interests in the design of time and the philosophy of time.


Each design seeks to highlight values that we place on time and uncover interdependencies between the way we represent time and occupy time, in order to provoke reflection on what values might be lost, hidden, or excluded when we adopt alternative perspectives on time. With these visual representations of our individual and collective values brought into clear focus, the project hopes to create new opportunities for its audience to consider and question how our values are influenced by, and reflected in, the temporal perspectives we choose to adopt, including the means we adopt to measure time and coordinate and project our agency across time.



Our desire to understand time is ancient. What remains urgent is the question of the practical implications of the views on time that we choose to adopt. Reflecting on this question, through new perspectives and employing differing mindsets, is now crucial if we are to address some of humankind’s most pressing issues. Indeed, many of our most critical challenges are now understood as being "only a matter of time" and solutions are judged by their ability to "stand the test of time".

Sense of Time will be realised as ten new prototype watch faces presenting a broad variety of alternative and augmented notions of time and temporal perception. The project will make tangible a series of experimental and alternative models in time measurement for both expert and popular consideration and contemplation.

SOT4Project events

LDB LAB: Re-Designing Time - Artist-led workshop by Ted Hunt                          Date: Sunday16 September 2018, 11:30-13:30                                                      Venue:  Somerset House Courtyard Meeting Room                                                Free entry with registration. To register go here

How does the way we perceive time influence our Emotional States? What effect has the global standardisation of time had on societies, communities and the individual?

With a unique series of practical exercises, designer Ted Hunt will lead a workshop on techniques to unwind and redesign the time we know. Participants will explore how our time is created and maintained, and investigate the relationship between mechanical time and human emotions such as anxiety, boredom or serenity.

Project team

Professor Matthew Soteriou - academic lead

Matthew Soteriou is a Professor in Philosophy of Mind in the Department of Philosophy, King’s College London. Building on previous published work on temporal representation in perception, memory, imagination, and dream, Matthew is currently conducting research on the ‘experienced present’ and its relation to our awareness of the passage of time. A key aim of this research is to identify asymmetries in our psychological orientation to what falls on either side of the boundaries the experienced present. These asymmetries towards past and future constitute the tensed temporal perspective that provides for a sense in which the past is fixed, and the future is open; but they can also play a role in structuring practical deliberation in more subtle ways. This research explores the respects in which our tensed temporal perspective on reality both depends upon, and is affected by, the ways in which we exercise and project our agency across time.

Ted Hunt - artistic lead

Ted Hunt is an independent speculative / discursive / critical designer living and working in London and currently a resident of Somerset House Studios. His work explores the liminal spaces between our ancient behaviourally driven selves and modern technologically driven selves. He continually explores non-linear / alternative paradigms and examines the boundaries between subjective, objective and inter-subjective interpretations and perspectives. Graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2016, under Professor Anthony Dunne, he is a fellow of Royal Society of Arts and his work has been commissioned by, and shown at; Artangel / ICA / Southbank Centre / Sir John Soane's Museum / Dulwich Picture Gallery / Gas Works / Royal College of Art / and internationally by Rijksmuseum Amsterdam / National Gallery of Victoria / Art Gallery of Ontario / Design Museum Gent / Vitra Design Museum / MAK Vienna / Vienna Biennale 2017.

Sense of Time is a collaboration between King's College London's Department of Philosophy and artist Ted Hunt, brokered and supported by the Cultural Institute at King’s in partnership with Somerset House Studios.

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