Barbara Bok, Swinburne University of Technology
Sydney 2018: Infrastructure and co-design

Today many people take for granted that, at any place and of any place on Earth, they can ask What is the time? and expect one datum from multiple sources. Concerns about the answer are often more concerned with the ‘accuracy’ of the datum than with questions such as What is time?, How is a universal standard time produced? and What are the consequences of producing standard time? I am developing a prototype exhibit with various displays and activities to intervene in the invisible but ubiquitous work that is constructing contemporary, standard, and universal time. My research is concerned with how human beings, including STS scholars, engage with the future. The way humans engage with the future have consequences for how we resolve global challenges like climate change and live sustainably on Earth. This exhibit is part of transforming people’s relationships with the future as constructed by contemporary time. With the exhibit I want to motivate and encourage participants to be aware of and have ways of unmaking and remaking the work of doing time. This requires making the work of constructing and imposing standard time perceptible. It requires being able to identify characteristics of standard time-producing practices, examine and recognise the mediating effects of those practices, including uncovering unacknowledged assumptions and consequences, and to explore new forms of time-making. This exhibit is linked with my open panel presentation Time and numbers: Counting the consequences and will address conference open panel themes.