A Time to Levitate
Le Monde invited FLYTE’s creator, Simon Morris, to discuss the changing concept of time during this tumultuous era. Here, a translated excerpt of the interview:
FLYTE’s newest creation is STORY, a poetic object that unsettles our common under-standing of time. STORY is a clock in which time is represented by a levitating sphere above a simple wooden base.
Le Monde: You have created a clock design that is simple, sleek and timeless. How does it work?
Simon Morris: Story uses magnetic levitation technology and a complex rotation system that guides the sphere around the wooden base. It can be programmed manually or via the associated mobile application. A LED matrix indicates the time in digital format through the wood. It can be used as a clock or it can be set to a different rhythm such as a revolution per minute or per hour. It can also be set to include meteorological data in real time, for example to illuminate the phases of the moon, the current temperature, or the time for sunrise or sunset.
Where did the idea for STORY come from?
I’m curious about our perception of time. We all have our own unique perception of time, so why should all our clocks be the same? STORY proposes a visualization of time according to different modalities (normal clock, countdown, etc.). It is born of a passion that I have for objects that levitate, and a desire to defy gravity. It is an object as functional as it is poetic, reminiscent of how time is a physical experience and not just a figure perceived on a screen. Moreover I’m less intrigued by the way in which time is measured than by our experience of time. Why do some hours fly by like minutes, while some minutes seem to last an eternity? There is no good way to measure our experience of time!
Isn’t it a way to suspend time and give each moment a sense of eternity?
Of course! STORY is deeply connected with the properties of matter and energy, and their links with gravity and weightlessness. This levitating sphere, guided by magnetic fields, is free from all friction except for air resistance, which allows it to rotate. Story shares many similarities with our planet, whose rotation around its axis, every 24 hours, is at the origin of our methods of measuring time. It is a reliable system with an immutable cycle. But even the most advanced atomic clocks are never quite exact...