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Balancing Age

Wellington 2040 ‘The most human city in the world’ Ruth Sumner


Balancing Age “The Council wants to create an environment where people are able to maintain the balance between retaining and expressing the individual culture that defines who they are and being part of the wider community they live in. It is the balance between these two factors that enables people to retain their sense of self and their overall health and wellbeing.” Wellington City Council ‘Cultural Strategy’


Contents Table of

• • • • • • • • •

Part one summary excerpt Project Brief Time Gifting Experiments and the concept Generational time perceptions About Brains Associated Experts Time-line Bibliography


Summary

Part One

excerpt

Time [...] links us back to the site (the Wellington Railway Station), being the heart of the transportation system of which has to keep to a tight time schedule. Then there is the passing of time visualized through aging and degradation and of course the virtual world of both mind and machine whereby time can become irrelevant.

Fig.1; Before and After aging experiment from Part One.

“I realised I could see the bright side as well as the dark side. I started meeting old people whom I admired and realised that I could choose the way to grow old.� Marie de Hennezel, The warmth of the heart prevents your body from rusting.


Brief

Project

Create a narrative that takes one on Wellington’s cultural path from the past through to the future. (2040+) This will be represented through the perspectives of different generations. The specific site is the Wellington Railway station, acting as the heart that connects the vital transportation and communication lines, these being key fertiliser to cultural growth. Design how this culture will age gracefully through time.


Time G


Gifting A neighbour gifts you a jar of homemade Marmalade, as an exchange of her time for yours, perhaps even better considered as her care for your value.

Question: With regards to resthomes; How can we pay someone to care?


Concept Experiments & the

What do you spend your time on? What would you tell the public you spend your time on? What would you like to be remembered for when you’re gone? By the year 2040, your brain synapses will be monitored and calculated based upon what you spend your time on. These statistics are publicised as a livefeed in place of stockexchange data and in place of your watches linear sense of time; you will tell the time through what your generation spends the majority of their time on at that given moment. This will prompt incredible social change and also personal reflection.

When you eventually die, the brain synapses switch off, triggering a release of ‘ticker-tape’ embroidered with the information of what you spent your time on throughout your life. You are then wrapped up (mummified) in the words describing what you valued most in life, and buried in a shallow grave (to benefit the active soil layer) with seedlings planted in your honour, which are then re-planted within the CBD as memorial sites to those past.


Previous page; A body ‘mummified’ in their life-time spending habits. Opposite page; A face ‘mummified’ Next page; A foot ‘mummified’.


Who

The Wellington Community/citizens encompassing all generations.

What

Generational perceptions of what time is spent on.

When

In the year 2040 and beyond

Where

Centralised at Wellington Railway Station where all ‘trains’ of value thought perception get calculated, displayed and ‘printed.’

Why

To foster a social etiquette of appreciation of time and personal reflection.

How

Find out through neurologists, statisticians, stock brokers and all generations if the value of time is a construct that can be obtained, calculated and appreciated. This research will envision and confirm this idea as feasible; once each component is ‘sub-contracted’ it can come together as a reality for 2040.

Opposite page; ‘ticker-tape’ deceased printouts in the atrium of the Railway Station. Below: Stock-exchnage data replaced with generational time spending data.


“...the quality of the personal image of time is crucial for individual well-being and also for our success in managing environmental change, and that the external physical environment plays a role in building and supporting that image of time. The relationship is therefore reciprocal.� Lynch, K. What time is this place?


Perceptions of a

Generation The OED definition for ‘Generation’

All of the people born and living at about the same time , regarded collectively A set of members of a family regarded as a single step or stage in descent A group of people of similar age involved in a particular activity A single stage in the development of a type of product The production or creation of something The propagation of living organisms; procreation “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons” The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock. Eliot, T.S. 1917


Time Perception:

Toddler “The only children I can speak for are my own. At 2 years old M still has no concept of what time means. ‘Later’ is as bad as a curse word in my house because the answer “later” is always followed by the question “now?”

When we have something exciting happening I don’t tell M until an hour or so before hand. Giving her more time to think about it does no one any favours as she has no idea how long 2,3, 5 hours actually is. When I say “We’re going out now” we then have to physically go out. Saying that then putting on my shoes, brushing my teeth, and doing whatever not only do I loses my credibility on not following through (your

words need to have meaning if you parent without punishment, which for the record is different to discipline, which we are doing plenty of right now) but it also frustrates M because she doesn’t understand whats happening. Days of the week are still confusing for her. She is still figuring out that the Sunday Market on happens on a Sunday, and that Sunday morning comes around after 6 night sleeps.

Interview with a Mother of two. 26/03/11


Time Perception:

Pregnant Time as a preggo is a different thing altogether. I have never been more aware of time than when pregnant, especially with your first baby.

comes is like waiting for christmas (after running a marathon).

My midwife once told me that if a full term woman hasn’t called her by 9am then she The last few weeks of isn’t having her baby pregnancy are agony. that day. It is like being stuck in a permanent transit Having a family totally lounge. warps your sense of time, from pregnancy You are unable to start which is especially the any new projects be- longest 9 months of cause everything could your life to those first change in a heartbeat. few hazy weeks with Your whole life is about your new baby when to get turned on it’s days and nights blur head and you’re never into one big haze the sure when it’s going to. the first year which whips around at lightGoing to bed every ening speed and has night with the hope you wondering where that tonight could be that little baby disapthe night that the baby peared to so quick.” Interview with a Mother of two. 26/03/11


Time Perception:

Grandma “…anyway time is confusing as you get older. It seems time does not move at all because you don’t feel any different but clearly it does and coming to terms with that, accepting the movement of time is interesting. When you have small kids the whole world moves past you while it seems you stand still in the centre of a maelstrom of tiredness and

effort but slowly you move back into the flow of time and then you’re in it for years, in the rings around the core, and the rings are spinning quiet fast but without you realising you are being pushed slowly, ring by ring to the outer rings where it’s a lot slower and you have the ability to look back into the rings – all the layers of time moving at different speeds.” Mrs Burstyn, 50

Interview with a Grandma of three, 10/04/11, image of Mrs Burstyn by R. McElhinney.


B rains

“Estimates vary wildly, since of course, no-one has counted them all, but there are some 100 billion separate nerve cells in the human brain - which is, by strange coincidence, around the same number as there are thought to be galaxies in the Universe. But this number, however awesome, doesn’t begin to capture the almost miraculous complexity of the human nervous system.” Nerve Signalling: Tracing the Wiring of Life Farndon, J “The concept of time is fundamental to our existence but we rarely think about it in terms of the brain. But the relationship of time to the brain is a topic of deep fascination.” The Ninth International Conference on Neuroesthetics; Time and Timing in the Brain. “Recent advances in human neuroimaging have shown that it is possible to accurately read out a person’s conscious experience based only on non-invasive fMRI measurements of their brain activity. This “brain reading” is possible because each thought is associated with a unique pattern of brain activity that can serve as a “fingerprint” of this thought in the brain. By training a computer to recognize these fMRI “thought patterns” it is possible to read out what someone is currently thinking with high accuracy.” The transparent mind: Reading thoughts from human brain activity. Haynes, J. Walnut/brain Image by Magnolia Bradway.


Experts associated

Brain signals P rof ._D r ._J ohn -D y lan_Haynes; Professor for Theory and Analysis of Large Scale Brain Signals. Department of Neuropsychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, Bremen University.

Prof._Richard_Faull; Neurodeg enerative diseases of the human brain. Director of the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland. Death rituals Meena_Kadri; Death and Diversity project the Office of Ethnic Affairs and the Wellington Museums Trust. Chery­l_Amys; Funeral Director & Embalmer, Green Burials, Ninness Funeral Home

Generational insight

Liz_Kiata-Holland; ‘All in a day’s work’ The lifeworld of older people in New Zealand rest homes. PhD in Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, Auckland University. Rachel_McElhinney; Mother of two Pregnant and Toddler time perceptions. Mrs. Burstyn; Grandma Babyboomer Mechanisms of manufacture

Mike_Keeves; Grace Spinning Wheel Manufacturer. Wakefield, Nelson. REM_ltd. Webbings and tapes. NZ’s leading narrow fabrics manufacturer. Onehunga, Auckland


Commun Evidence of Initial

Apr 11, 2011 at 09:37 AM, Ruth Sumner wrote:

Apr 11, 2011 at 11:16 AM To: Ruth Sumner

Apr 11, 2011 at 1:14 PM, Ruth Sumner wrote:

Hi Meena, I am a student at Victoria University of Wellington School of Design. We are currently undertaking a project for the Wellington City Council, in which we are to envision what Wellington will be like in the year 2040. My take on the project (in brief) is a City where the residents perceive time as the top commodity, and once deceased, the individuals continual value of time data is ‘printed’ embroidered onto cloth ‘bandages’ to use in a death ritual of 2040. I have read the research you are undertaking for the Wellington City and Sea museum and find it very fascinating. I would love the opportunity to talk with you more on your thoughts/research on the different cultural death traditions. If you are free sometime soon, I would love to hear back from you. All the best, Ruth Sumner

Hey Ruth

Hi Meena,

How lovely to hear from you.

Thank you for your email, Please excuse the flakiness of the project at the moment, it’s still in the conceptual phase, should be better resolved by the weekend! the developmental blog of the work is http://ruthsumner. wordpress.com/

I don’t quite understand your concept but am very intrigued to hear more. I’m super busy these days working on http://openideo.com/ (Check it out if you need a new global, designerly, social impact addiction) But am relatively free this weekend if you want to catch up for a coffee. Let me know a time, place that suits if you do. Sunny regards from the south-coast [*] Meena

I would love to meet this weekend, let me know when works for you, I’m pretty much free this weekend as uni is on break for two weeks from this Friday. phew. I look forward to meeting you. All the best, Ruth


nication Apr 12, 2011 at 9:02 PM To: Ruth Sumner

Apr 12, 2011 at 9:15 PM Ruth Sumner wrote:

Apr 13, 2011 at 6:05 AM To: Ruth Sumner

Ruth

Hi Meena, That’s no problem at all, unfortunately I don’t have a land-line, (oh this modern technology age we live in!) but I’ll ask my neighbor if I could borrow hers to receive a call from (she’s super nice, we swap home-made jam regularly, so I’m sure it will be fine) I’ll confirm with her and send you an email with the number on it when I know. I also had a look at your link for open ideo, it looks like really interesting and meaningful stuff. That’s really nice to know that there’s organisations like open ideo out there making positive changes in the world. I’ll be in touch again soon with a land-line number and a suitable time, All the best, Ruth

Thanks you gem. Sorry for the drama – maybe she’ll make you a cuppa while you’re there. (I love it how you young ‘un’s side step all that analogue phone crap)

Feel bad. Snowed under with work so won’t manage a meet up. But you seem awfully lovely so can we try for a phone call in the weekend? Send me a landline no. & potential times & I’ll give you a call. Promise to look at the link first. And hope to be meeting up for real sometime soon. Very sad as given I spend my life on skype for work to offshore colleagues, it seems tragic I can’t manage coffee with a bloody local! Hope to talk soon [*] Meena

[*] meena


Commun Evidence of Initial

Apr 13, 2011 at 8:18 PM To: haynes Dear Prof. Haynes,

I am very interested in the work you doing. I am a student at Victoria University of Wellington School of Design, in New Zealand. We are currently undertaking a project for the Wellington City Council, in which we are to envision what our city will be like in the year 2040. My concept for the future is about rediscovering our purpose on this earth, and what is most important - and that is the time we give to one another. This is conceptualised as a society who have their thought patterns read and analyzed to provide continual feed-back to the general public on what each generation is spending their time on, along the lines of stock exchange data.

For more detailed information, please take the time to view the project blog.

My research into how ones thought processes can be monitored and calculated has led me on to the incredible work you do. I would love the opportunity to talk with you more on your thoughts/ research on how we ‘read the brain.’ If you are free sometime soon, I would love to hear back from you. All the best, Ruth Sumner


nication Apr 13, 2011 at 8:28 PM To: faull Dear Prof. Faull, I am very interested in the work you doing. I am a student at Victoria University of Wellington School of Design, in New Zealand. We are currently undertaking a project for the Wellington City Council, in which we are to envision what our city will be like in the year 2040. My concept for the future is about rediscovering our purpose on this earth, and what is most important - and that is the time we give to one another. This is conceptualised as a society who have their thought patterns read and analyzed to provide continual feed-back to the general public on what each generation is spending their time on, along the lines of stock exchange data.

For more detailed information, please take the time to view the project blog. My research into how ones thought processes can be monitored and calculated led me back to the incredible work you do (I attended the fascinating Royal Society talk you gave in Wellington late last year on brains and memory) I would love the opportunity to talk with you more on your thoughts/ research on how we ‘read the brain.’ and whether my concept would be a feasible future. If you are free sometime soon, I would love to hear back from you. All the best, Ruth Sumner

Plus the communications/interviews from the Time Perception pages.


Timeline of events and inventions leading up to the concepts fruition.

01202 Fibonacci invents the time value of money (TVM) 01577 Jost Burgi invented the minute hand. Burgi’s invention was part of a clock made for Tycho Brahe, an astronomer who needed an accurate clock for his stargazing. 01662 John Graunt developed early human statistical and census methods that later provided a framework for modern demography. 01797 George Washington Quotes “The man who does not estimate time as money will forever miscalculate; for altho’ the latter is not paid for the former, it is nevertheless a sure item in the cost of any undertaking.” 01848 An explosion drives a steel tamping bar through the skull of a railroad foreman, obliterating a portion of his frontal lobes completely changing his personality. 01861 a French neurosurgeon named Pierre-Paul Broca announces that he has found the root of speech articulation in the brain. 01867 The ticker tape machine invented (allowed people to see stock quotes in something close to real time.) 01869 Thomas Edison develops an alphanumeric system for conveying stock information. 01871 Camillo Golgi discovers complete nerve cells revealed their full appearance for the first time. 01915 Einsteins theory of relativity 01953 The hippocampus is found to be the housing for memory when doctors remove the frontal lobe of an epileptic patient. 01968 Sen. Robert F. Kennedy speech on GNP; “Too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings.” 01970 First digital electronic watch. 01986 pocket calculators represent about 40 percent of all computer capacity. 01993 video held 86 percent of all stored data 02011 A jar of marmalade jam is gifted from your neighbour. 02015 People will send 6.3 exabytes of data per month, “That’s the equivalent of every man, woman and child on Earth sending 1,000 text messages every second,” 02040 Balancing Age concept created in Wellington is now a global trend.


Bibliog

Arnold, M. (1882). Culture and anarchy : an essay in political and social criticism. Smith, Elder & Co, London.

Clark, A. (2003). Naturalborn cyborgs : minds, technologies, and the future of human intelligence. Oxford University Press, NY.

Barton, H & Tsourou, C. (2000). Healthy urban planning : a WHO guide to planning for people. Spon Press, London.

Draaisma, D. (2004) Why life speeds up as you get older: How memory shapes our past. Cambridge university press, Cambridge.

Baudrillard, J. (1988). Farndon, J. Nerve SignalEcstasy of communication. ling: Tracing the Wiring of Semiotext(e), NY. Life retrieved on 23/3/11 from: http://nobelprize. Blesser, B & Salter, L. org/educational/medi(2007). Spaces speak, are cine/ner ve_signaling/ you listening? : experienc- overview/index.html ing aural architecture. MIT Press, Cambridge. Franklin, U. (1999). Real world of technology. Brockman, J (ed) (2003). House of Anansi Press, The New humanists : science Toronto. at the edge. Barnes and Noble Books, NY. Georges, T. (2003). Digital soul : intelligent machines Calais-Germain, B. and human values. West(1993). Anatomy of move- view Press, Cambridge. ment. Eastland Press, Seattle. Gorayska, B & Mey, J. (eds.) (2004). Cognition Campbell, J. (1989). Im- and technology : co-existence, probable machine : what the convergence, and co-evolution. upheavals in artificial intel- John Benjamins Publishligence research reveal about ing Co, Philadelphia. how the mind really works. Simon and Schuster, NY.


graphy Hawking, S ‌ [et al.] ; introduction by Price, R. (2002). Future of spacetime. W.W Norton and Company, NY.

Penz, F, Radick, G & Howell, R (eds). (2004). Space : in science, art and society. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Haynes, J. The transparent mind: Reading thoughts from human brain activity. retrieved on 8/4/11 from: http://plaisir.berkeley. edu/

Sklar, L. (1974). Space, time, and spacetime. University of California Press, LA.

Smith, M & Morra, J (eds). (2006). Prosthetic Hughes, T. (2004). Hu- impulse : from a posthuman man-built world : how to present to a biocultural future. think about technology and The MIT Press, Camculture. The University of bridge. Chicago Press, Chicago. Taylor, M. (2001) Moment Lynch, K. (1972). What of complexity : emerging nettime is this place? MIT work culture. The UniverPress, Cambridge. sity of Chicago Press, Chicago. Kurzweil, R. (1999). Age of spiritual machines : how Virilio, P. (1997). Open sky. we will live, work and think Verso, London. in the new age of intelligent machines. Orion Business, Wills, D. (2008). Dorsality London. : thinking back through technology and politics. UniverKurzweil, R. (2005). Sin- sity of Minnesota Press, gularity is near : when hu- Minneapolis. mans transcend biology. Penguin Group, NY. Zylinska, J. (ed) (2002). Cyborg experiments : the extensions of the body in the media age. Continuim, NY.


R

Literature

Why life speeds up as you get older is a narrative trip down memory lane, along the lines of Oscar Wilde “one’s past is what one is.”. A key point the theory of relativity that this book is centered upon was confirmed through many conversations with elderly on their perceptions of time. How the past and the present become flattened in their time perception.

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What time is this place? “the theme of the book is that the quality of the personal image of time is crucial for individual well-being and also for our success in managing environmental change, and that the external physical environment plays a role in building and supporting that image of time. The relationship is therefore reciprocal.”

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An important article was in the Sunday Star Times, where a doctorate study was undertaken on what life is really like in NZ rest homes. More information on this article is read in the Authors Thesis document, especially poignant is chapter six: Lived Time. Key notes from this: -“When time is viewed as experimental, the temporal view of older

people can be expanded.” -The different meanings and values people relay into their time. -Health time is another rhythm of time where the ‘carer’ needs to adjust their time perceptions to the user. -chronology of time is irrelevant. - “I never think of time, I just go from A to B. The weather, the sky at the time defines that, not me.”


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part 2 project dlf