x-Music Lab
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x-Music Lab

[x-Music Lab 21 春]One Seconds

  1. Introduction

The aim of this exploration is to find how time can be expressed through use of sounds. Time is measurable period and it exist when the events occur. Time have been investigated in many fields such as quantum gravity physics, cognitive science and arts. It is commonly known that people recognise time in brain. However, due to the numerous amounts of factors need to be taken into account in order to be successful, it is often hard to know the actual elements and factors of time. Before investigating to create a clock by sounds, Factors in time is explained.

Time in quantum gravity field is becoming more obvious and founded after 20th century. Understanding the quantum gravity can be very important as it proves some conditions to improve everyday life.

  1. 1 Rationale

The reason why I am choosing this topic is because of the book “The Order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli. Since I entered high school and learnt about space, I have always been interested in astrophysics. The book caught my eye and it told me new knowledge of time that I did not know. This is why I like interacting with time. However, how can I express time as an artwork by use of sounds? This question can only be answered if I can find the factors behind the condition of time in quantum gravity physics. Obtaining possibility of time would give us different point of view. This will be explored in this work.

2. Elements of Time in Quantum Gravity Physics

In “The Order of Time”, Carlo Rovelli stated there are four important factors(Fig.1). The fist factor is, time born in the relationship between cognition and the event. In addition, it shows how subjective time itself is. The second factor is, it is discrete. Time does not flow like a river. It jumps to next time unit. The third factor is, there is the minimum unit called plank time. Max Planck advocate this time units and it is too small to see or feel by people. Therefore, people use “seconds” or “hours” as a set of plank units. The last one is, time occur when gravity exist. Moreover, time speed is depending on gravity. For example, if you stay on the top of Mt Fuji, the time delays. Compare to this phenomenon, if you live near the sea, time past faster than staying high place.


By these four factors, the fourth element is focused in this artwork. The reason is people never know time speed is variable since time is subjective matter. Therefore, time difference between few points are portrayed through the artwork.

2.1 History of measuring time

People started making clocks with natural things. In B.C 4000, a sundial is invented. A sundial is a stick, stabbed on the ground. Shadow created by the sun is representing the time. After B.C. 1400, Water clock is founded. Like these clocks, sands, fire, even animals are used to measure time. In the mid-century, a clock became more technical. After the 13th century, mechanical clocks are invented in Europe. Furthermore, it gave huge impacts on industry. In the 20th century clock became more accurate, quarts, tuning fork, atomic clock is invented. Quarts, tuning forks, atomic clock is all oscillate hence its vibration. As a result, vibration is used to create a clock in a recent generation.

Fig.2 Kotengi at Bisei Astronomical Observatory

3. Consideration

It is descripted in history of measuring time that people measure time by vibration. Vibration is a periodic motion hence it can be said sounds. Therefore, vibration = sounds. Also, time occurs due to the fact of gravity exist. Hence, vibration is equal to sounds and sound is equal to time. If sounds is controllable, it means gravity is controllable.

To resonate clock by sounds, Helmholtz resonance is used to create a clock. This is detailed in implementation.


Two artworks are referred for the artwork. Toki-Ballet #1 by Akinori Goto(Fig.5) expressed time by 3D printing object and ballet. Also, Electric Delay Time Automatic Calculator by Tomoya Matsuura (Fig.4)is a clock that does not have any master clock. These artworks inspired “One Seconds”.


5. Artwork

Fig.5 One Seconds

5.1 Implementation

Plastic bottles and sounds resonate with own frequency. For example, 2L coke plastic bottle resonate in 117Hz. Therefore, a speaker plays 117Hz sine wave to resonate with plastic bottles. In a plastic bottle, when it resonates with sounds, it creates air flow (Fig.6).

Different volumes of bottles are used in this work. Therefore, corresponded frequency sounds are played by each speaker.

Fig.6 Helmholtz Resonance

5.2 One seconds in the Exhibition

In the exhibition in 31/8/2021 to 1/9/2021 at Osanbashi hall, this clock will be expanded to 5 or 6. These clocks are hanged from two batons.(Fig.7)

Condition to exhibit is quite sensitive. Surroundings must be silent. If there are low frequency sounds near the work, it may not be resonated. Also, beading thread cannot be touched by viewers to prevent corruption.


Plastic bottles are commercially available everywhere in Japan, however, it should be more specialized bottle to resonate with sounds. Also, plastic bottles evoke environment issues. Therefore, these must be remade to own shapes or covered by something very light. In addition, six speakers must be secured until exhibition start. It is hard because money it can be spent is limited. Speed of circular motion will be decided before ethe exhibition will be held. These problems need to be solved immediately for the exhibition.

6. Conclusion

The aim for this exploration was to find how time can be expressed through use of sounds. Use of Helmholtz resonance delivered this investigation in the good way for the findings.

By the process of finding time expresses, I referred “The order of Time” by Carlo Rovelli and two artworks. Through the making, I discovered not many people think about time in real life. As a reason of time cannot be thought, time itself is too complicated think without math or physics.

7. Bibliography

This is the link that I summarise quotes from books or essays that are written about time.



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