Standard Time originated as a 24 hour time-telling performance conceived by Mark Formanek and realized by Datenstrudel in Berlin in 2007. After several exhibitions, the performance has now been documented on video, and is newly available as a desktop application or DVD. In the performance, workers scramble to rearrange wooden planks by the minute to accurately reflect the time. According to Formanek, though the workers are trying hard, they are constantly on the verge of failing. There is evidence of this in the excerpt above, where they barely finish constructing the '20' before they have to change it to '21.' The spectator then not only watches the time, but also the people dutifully constructing the display, despite its futility. This can't be posted without mentioning Marten Baas' 2009 Real Time project, where street sweepers, office workers, and a figure in a grandfather clock also update a clock by the minute, all excellent examples of approximate time telling. Watch a 2 minute excerpt of Standard Time above or a quick recap of an earlier performance of this project at the Rotterdam Central Station below, (in Dutch). More videos at the Standard Time website.
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