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The Circadian Clock

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Abstract

Light from the sun is a biological cue that entrains the circadian rhythms of most life on earth. The Circadian Clock is a work of speculative design that takes the luminosity and colour of the sky as the basis for a timepiece. Through the changing light of night and day, it aims to articulate a more-than-human temporal commons, while also indicating the presence of anthropogenic light at night, which can disrupt both human and non-human biologies and behaviours.
Using light sensors oriented towards the sky, the clock traces out the changing ambient light as a helix of coloured dots. Each revolution corresponds to the changing light over a period of 24 hours. The helix is shown in perspective and thus appears as a spiral, with the present at the head of the outer ring, always maintained at the 12 o’clock position, and the past spiralling anticlockwise towards the centre. Cumulatively, this locates the viewer in the daily and seasonal variations of light and dark that act as a master clock for life on earth.