FLUX 1440: A Highly Impractical but Awesome Clock

One our tipsters just sent us this great project — it’s a unique style of clock that we haven’t seen before. It was completed as part of what we think was a post-graduate program by [Felix Vorreiter]. This is FLUX 1440 (translated).

It uses 1200 meters of marked rope that is fed into the clock and strung between various pulleys and gears. Every second, the rope is moved 1.3cm. Every 57 seconds, the time is readable across the strands of rope — but only for 3 seconds. After that everything goes “back into the river”, a metaphor for chaos.

The explanation behind it is in German, but we’ve tried to piece together a general statement about the meaning behind it. Of course, we’d love if one of our German readers could provide a better translation!

FLUX 1440 displays time as a spatial dimension and counts the length of a day using a long segmented rope. The length of each minute is felt physically, as the viewer must wait as the shapes change until the current time reveals itself from the chaos of the markings.

Stick around for an extremely well produced video demonstrating it — it’s also in German, but we think you’ll be able to piece together the meaning.

[Thanks Matt!]

52 thoughts on “FLUX 1440: A Highly Impractical but Awesome Clock

      1. I’ve found that videos considered to be “extremely well produced” are actually extremely damned annoying. Cool clock. Show off the clock. I simply do not care that you know how to use After Effects, and I am not impressed by it.

    1. I so agree! I was surprised that the video was actually less practical than the clock — it took almost two minutes to see the time on the clock in the video.

        1. Based on what information? An asinine generalization paired with an assumption about the age of the person who wrote the post?

          Get over yourself.

          1. The text was emulating the experience of the rope being advanced and the wait for it, that’s the whole point.

            But perhaps it works better if you know german. (and are not dependent on ritalin :)

          2. Whatnot you fucking loser, it has nothing to do with age. The video sucked dicks and it would have been better to just record the damn thing in operation for two minutes. Maybe YOUR generation should take you glossy web2.0 mass-market hyping and stow it.

          3. @blu Who mentioned age or generations? I mentioned knowing german and being on ritalin. And the ritalin remarks refers to having an issue with not being able to be calm and having a short attention span, something that is an issue with people of all ages as you can readily observe all over the world.
            Same way that there are extremely slow and dull people of all ages.

            And yes if you just want to see the thing in operation the video sucks, but since the maker is going for an art angle he made the video in a way that reflects his intent and thus we have a video that does not cater to the non-modern-art-interested people.We just have to accept that and it’s not a failure of the video but a clash of wants between the author and the HaD type of person who is interested in the engineering.

        2. No, it’s definitely the video editing. The summary said “extremely well produced”. I don’t see it. It’s annoying, and almost purposefully hides the clock itself.

          1. Well made it should say. Made and produced are two different things. I thought the video was pretty neat for 20 seconds, but it wreaks of someone who came up with a clever effect for a video but didn’t know when to call it quits.

  1. Neat idea — but I would have it move 0.13mm every 10ms. This would allow the rope to seem like it is flowing continuously, letting the numbers naturally drift in and break apart. Could be done with a simple tweak to the software. Having it move once per second and then stop for three seconds in the “right” place just seems completely counter to the aesthetic, to me.

    1. I would actually let it scroll through those 74cm in about 10 seconds and then pause for 50 seconds showing readable time. It would still retain the spirit of art, but would be much more practical (not talking about 1.4 km of rope of course).

      1. Nah, I like the way the time “coincidentally” shows up every now and then, as if it’s a side-effect of a natural process. If you just want a useful clock there’s plenty of better alternatives, but I don’t think that’s a primary consideration in this invention.

  2. I need to see a time lapse of a full 24 hour cycle. I cannot fathom how 1200 meters of rome can cycle around without getting tangled horribly somehow on the floor.

    1. What they need is to put the rope on a endless loop spindle, I don’t now the precise name, like the tape in an 8-Track tape, then the clock could be run perpetually.

  3. Very interesting. I’d worry about the rope stretching over time to make the numbers less legible. If you visit flux1440.com (it redirects you), and do a Google translate, the English translation does a pretty good job of explaining it.

  4. asy. Any length of string or whatever can be used. Then at every minute, one simply uses an ink marker or something to mark the numbers on the string.

    Then one simply divides the length of string by the total number of seconds or minutes in 24 hours and then moves the string that much each time. Then simply mark the time on the string using an ink marker or something.

    One could do this for just each minute or for every second. I don’t think so much string or cord is necessary.

    Interesting clock though. I might make one.

  5. Fantastic idea, but I can’t see how thousands of precisely arranged markings can be considered chaos, but then I’m not arty. Don’t all mechanical clocks display time “as a spatial dimension”?
    I wonder how long the rope would need to be to display seconds?

    1. The rope can be any length. It doesn’t matter. All you do is divide the length of the rope by 24 hours or by 1440 minutes or by 86400 seconds then move the rope by that distance each time.

      Then simply use an ink marker or something to mark the numbers at each interval of movement. For instance if you move the clock every hour, you simply divide the ropes distance into 24 movements. Then simply use an ink marker or something to mark the rope.

      It’s a super simple clock. You could basically wind the rope all around your house if you wanted to with pulleys and hooks. Then just move the rope, and mark the rope however you like it. You could mark the rope with beautiful German women at each hour.

    2. you could use multiple ropes, one for each digit, but that would break the artistic idea behind it… it would make it more practical :P

  6. Absolutely love it (the idea, that is, not the frickin video). Putting aside the guff about ordered chaos, I wonder if it would be possible to have say four separate ropes, driven individually, but of limited length. Could you figure out some pattern of markings which would enable each character to be generated by moving each rope to some calculated position?

    Hope that makes sense. I would worry about stretch as well, especially with a large squashy cord like this.

    1. You could solve the stretching problem by tagging the rope with sync patterns, and using light sensors to stop the rope when it detects the stop marker.

  7. “…extremely well produced video…” This is one of the worst videos I’ve seen! Looks like they are trying to hide the fact that the clock doesn’t really work.

  8. Erokhane has it correct I believe. Without thinking about it to complicatedly a standard clock movement would drive a wheel and calibrating or marking the rope every 5 min (1 min would be too busy) would do the trick. Shade cord would work well, nylon will stretch.
    A basket below the clock to keep the wad of cord in might keep the cat out of it. I have 17 clocks, I guess I could use another one.

  9. Might be able to make significantly shorter loop by printing the “time” on the string just before it loops in with some kind of disappearing ink which would vanish after it loops out of sight.

    1. When I first saw the picture I thought it was a pipe with two liquids (dark oil and white water). That would be better as long as it stays exactly separated and doesn’t mix on its way to the display.

  10. Here is my attempt at translating the quoted text:
    “FLUX 1440 gives time a spatial dimension, and turns the length of a day in to the form of a long rope. Additionally the viewer also physically feels the length of every minute, in which the viewer waits, for the actual time to form out of the chaos of the markings again.”

  11. I was pondering a similar design a while ago, but doing each digit somewhat individually and using a figure of 8 tube with rope in method. I like this though. Good inspiration.

  12. FLUX 1440: A Highly Impractical but Awesome Clock … truly lives up to it’s name (impractical — having to wait so long to see the time). You might as well, just, go to the dollar store and buy the cheapest clock possible.

  13. rough translation:
    FLUX 1440 is a clock ment for wall mounting with the dimensions 5.5 x 10.2 x 4.3 inch.
    The specialty is the display, which produces the view of the time mechanically and optically by using a very long marked rope.
    For every minute a part of the rope is marked with a colored code. Every second the string is pulled a little bit further. Once a minute the marks are aligned at the right place and the time becomes visible similar to a digital clock. This only lasts for 3 seconds, and the flow continues. It’s a curly chaos until 57 seconds and 57 shiftings later the time becomes visible again. There are 1440 minutes in a day, resulting in enourmous 1.2 kilometers (about 1,300 yards) of rope.
    FLUX 1440 transforms the experience of time in the more comprehendable spatial dimension by converting a time interval in specific length of the rope. The viewer experiences the duration of a minute physically by waiting for the chaos to align.
    There are a few ideas for the guiding system of the rope outside the clock. A spacious installation with multiple feed rolls hanging from the ceiling, and a heap of rope on the ground could be possible. Or maybe 2 huge wall-like rolls.
    Because of the unpredictability of the rope (extension, twisting and calibration) the FLUX 1440 isn’t ready for production. For the complete marking of the cord a machine has to be developed, because the current method of calculating an cut-plotting the stencils is way to elaborate for this length of a rope.

    chris

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