considering our relationship with time
A CONVERSATION WITH SCOTT THRIFT
Hi Scott! How did you get into clock-making?
Well, it came from being an editor of video in 1996 working from VHS deck to VHS deck… remember those? If you really messed up, you really messed up! When technology progressed, I couldn’t believe I could use a timeline, copy, paste… this non-destruction was mind blowing! I wanted to go to school to master this process. I went to film school, studied editing and directing, opened a production company, and moved to NY in 2004. I grew up in Central Florida where there’s no real sense of seasons.
When I moved to NY, after each season I’d think how incredible it was that I could experience my life in these natural chapters. It helped me understand how I had grown. After that full circle I thought: How can I celebrate this? That’s when I first thought of a year-long clock that used colour to suggest the seasons. In 2011 we launched a successful Kickstarter campaign and I spent the next 2 years making 2,000 clocks which I called, The Present.
How did spending that much time focused on time impact you?
This clock became my life and it changed my life. Everything came down to this question: How can we live in the moment if the moment changes every second? I felt like the message that Americans are told to, “Live in the moment! Seize the day!” was the wrong message. What we
really need is to be okay with stillness. Be okay by being alone and being genuinely present.
What’s a notable design feature of your 365-day clock, The Present?
The meditative hand gives you a sense of grounding in a way that’s so unlike a regular clock. It’s strange to call it a clock, it’s more of a compass. It helps you understand, this is where I am in time. Rather than what time it is. And wherever the hand is on The Present, it’s in the same place wherever you are in the world – except in the Southern
Hemisphere, the colours flip. It’s a true ‘world time’ that connects everyone, hand in hand. This is something I’ve discovered. This is about connecting the human team together.
How do you define time?
Time is the physical sensation of life itself. The substrate on which life comes to us, or through us. We are looking at time through this tiny little pinhole of seconds, popularized during the Industrial Revolution. I believe the human spirit has so much more to offer. We deserve something much more human, eternal, and forgiving.
Tell us about your latest timepiece design project, This.
I want to provide a replacement for this black-and-white thinking about time. So, it’s a black and white clock. Imagine the most basic Photoshop 101 with a black gradient vertically dissolving into white. This’ format is just like any 12-hour clock you’ve ever seen but This is a zen piece. Takes the yin and yang and blurs it to create an interface for our culture. There is darkness in the light and light in the darkness.
I see my clocks as a piece of furniture. If you’re going to have interior design it helps to have something functional to shift your thinking. I think good furniture does that. It’s as important as a chair in your life. An armrest for the spirit.
What’s your favourite place in NY to spend alone time?
You can be so alone by walking the streets. My favourite thing is to just start somewhere and following the walk signs when they light up. Be an observer to what’s happening in the city. Kinda disappear in that sense. The longer the better. To go with the flow and be a part of the rhythm.