The timescales database - a shelf of objects materialising relational time recordings

The Time Scales database

A time relation up close

The Time Scales database was a prototype system for storing the perceived ratios of time between kitchen processes in comparisons between the properties of physical items. It was be populated throughout the 11 hours of Everything but the Kitchen event.

To give an example of how it works, in experiment #01 the times of the following processes were compared against each other:

  • process 003: hydrate cous-cous in hot water
  • process 004: prepare and chop a spring onion

It was found that process 003 took roughly 3 times as long as process 004.

Two items were selected – a quantity of cous-cous for process 003 and some spring onions for process 004 – and labelled appropriately. A common property of the items was also selected, in this case, weight. This property is used to express the ratio of time between the two processes.

So in this case, the cous-cous is about 3 times as heavy as the spring onions.

Related items were tied together with string, and tagged with the property that should be used for comparison. The people who attended the event were encouraged to take items off the shelves in order to inspect and compare their properties. These properties included intensity of smell, length, weight and colour.