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Polychromy of time

exhibitionFeb 28, 2019

There have been many ways of measuring time throughout history. People used to observe changes from the shadows according to the sun’s altitude or let the water flow from a huge pot at regular intervals. Then when the modern age arrived, science and technology rapidly developed, and people were able to check time according to the movement of machinery. Today, we can even check time based on the frequency of cesium atoms. The development of technology has certainly made our life convenient. However, is our depth of experience becoming shallower as a result of this tightening appreciation of time, altered by the size of the digital number on a smartphone screen?
The recent show entitled Time, a Hermes Object, held at Maison Hermes Dosan Park from 9 - 22 February presented simple and interesting interpretations of the invisible nature of time. Devices for experiencing time, which involve human’s different senses such as sight and hearing, were placed around the exhibition hall. ‘We imagined time as an object’, said Hermes. They also explained their aim: ‘we wanted to express time as a dreamy and interesting dimension, rather than treating time as an attribute to just measure and control’.
When one enters the exhibition hall on the third floor, large acrylic panels ? coloured in yellow, salmon, and red ?stand in line. The equally spaced colorued panels visually overlap with each other, creating interesting scenes. Devices and objects, which allow the visitors to experience time, are installed on some panels. By walking through this maze-like space, each visitor can experience time differently.
First, in the section entitled ‘Changing the Path of Time’, there is a device that allows one to manipulate the flow of time ? as if a god does. When one turns the handle that is attached on the yellow acrylic panel, a yellow light indicating daytime is turned on, then it switches to a blue light signaling nighttime. A voice saying ‘day’ and ‘night’ is accordingly spoken above the light. The ‘Modifying the Speed of Time’ section contemplates the speed of time through a horse neighing. When one presses different buttons, the sound of galloping, running, walking, and stopping horses on a racetrack fill the air. The light also flickers based on the sound. This light that runs along the rail, which is in a form of a racetrack circuit, also changes its colour based on the colour of the clock. There is also a section entitled, ‘Time Play on a Loop’, where personified clocks are displayed. The three installed clocks face each other like how people do and have a conversation. When a visitor comes closer, they stop talking and turn their gaze toward the visitor. There are other sections to entertain the visitors, such as ‘Travelling through the Time Lines’ where the local time of six cities including New York, Paris, and Shanghai are announced out loud, and ‘Photo Booth’ where the visitors can take instant photos with coloured filters.



Images courtesy of Hermès ©Nam KiYong