Artists seek site for clock that will keep time for 10,000 years

AN AMBITIOUS plan to build a giant clock designed to run for 10,000 years in a remote desert will be presented to international politicians when they meet at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, at the end of the month.

The idea is to build a global monument that will stimulate people to think beyond the normal concept of time, as measured by hours and days, by encouraging them to think in centuries and millennia.

Artists and computer engineers who set up the Long Now Foundation to build the clock believe politicians are the key people to win over to the idea of a 10,000-year timepiece given their predilection for thinking in the short term.

Brian Eno, the British musician and artist who is a board member, came up with the name of Long Now after moving to New York and realising that the city's concept of "now" was even more short term than in Britain.

A prototype clock standing seven feet tall will be completed in the next few weeks and if the foundation secures funding, the full-scale version standing up to 80 feet tall will be built at a dry, desert site.

Using simple mechanical levers and devices that could be mended with Bronze Age technology - in case modern civilisation is destroyed - the clock is designed to tick once a day, move its hands once a year, bong once a century and do something spectacular once every thousand years.

"Most of the workings will be buried below ground as it needs to be fairly well protected, but the moving parts on its face will be visible," said Alexander Rose, director of the Long Now Foundation in San Francisco.

The clock is the brainchild of a computer scientist, Danny Hillis, and Stewart Brand, an author who is writing a book on the project to be published later this year. "Davos is the perfect place to get world leaders and corporate leaders and so on thinking in 10,000-year terms," Mr Brand said.

The clock will be built out of tungsten and steel which in a dry climate should last for thousands of years. A giant torsion pendulum will drive the clock and it will use the sun's position at midday to keep the right time.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Application Developer / Software Developer

£21000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software development compa...

Recruitment Genius: Brand Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you wish to be part of an exciting journey ...

Anna Woodward: Anna Woodward

£25,000: Anna Woodward: My client is a rapidly expanding global company who sp...

Beverley James: Transactions Manager

£30,000: Beverley James: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for a person looki...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower