Calvin | Abacus
Abacus

Accounting for Crisis

Responding to the recent UN climate report giving us 12 years to develop systems of resiliency in the face of catastrophic climate change, I prototyped ways of accounting for the remaining time. These experiments focused on rapid iteration within a variety of mediums, resulting in the creations of a chrome extension, a tabletop clock, a ceremonial candle and a website.

“the felled trees an abacus tallying the years.”

—Sam Olson

A False Start

Inspired by lines "the felled trees an abacus/ tallying the years," from a poem by Sam Olsen, I attempted to create the digital equivalent, tallying loss in concrete images. However, as soon as I had mocked this idea up, I realized it involved too many variables. From there, I paired everything down to the idea of a countdown. This was the single point of orientation that informed the rest of the project.

years

days

hours

minutes

Material Terms

I put together a simple website that put this time into a quotidian perspective. In addition to measuring the remaining time in days, I also included metrics such as hair length, number of meals eaten, and number of steps taken.

Point of Orientation

Hoping to make the impact more rooted in the material world, I decided to prototype a climate countdown clock using an arduino. The intention was to create a device resembling an alarm clock that would serve as a constant point of orientation. From the time indicated on the clock it would be clear: there are only so many days left to prepare.

New Rituals

Exploring other ways of tracking time, I experimented with candles. I was interested in both analog and the performative qualities of the object. In particular I was drawn to the way the object changed form overtime as it marked the passage of time. In addition to producing the candle, I also drafted a proposal for a shrine where one-thousand (the number of candles needed to burn for the entire 12 year period) candles could exist.

Close to Home

To account for a changing climate, I created a chrome extension. This constantly orients the user’s browsing. The end result is a clock that is shown every time a new tab is opened.

Find me on:

IPFS

Projects ©2020

Built with open source software

Typeset in Nocturne, CSTM Xprmntl 03 & William Caslon

Find me on:

IPFS

Projects ©2020

Built with open source software

Typeset in Nocturne, CSTM Xprmntl 03 & William Caslon