The Here & Now of the Long Now

The Long Now Foundation, San FranciscoPhoto: PK Read

The Long Now Foundation, San Francisco
Photo: PK Read

My goal yesterday was to visit the headquarters and museum of the Long Now Foundation, a project intended to extend the time perception of a global culture with ever foreshortening horizons. For those who think in terms of quarterly or even annual goals, this is not for the faint of heart.

I had expected a museum with models of the Long Now Clock, a pr0ject to build what is billed as the ‘slowest computer on the planet’, a 10,000 year clock that “ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium”. There is a prototype of the clock in London’s Science Museum, and I did indeed find small models and tooled versions of clock mechanisms at the small museum in the Fort Mason Center in San Francisco, right on the Bay.

But what I also found were two employees packing everything into boxes, some empty shelves and a place in transition for the long-term. The clock design phase, started back in the late 1990s, is over. The new phase – a phase of increased discussion and context-building – is underway. The museum will become a salon, the salon will serve drinks, all aged long-term. Potential salon patrons can buy their own named whiskies, gin, wines, all kept at the salon for evenings of timely discussions, all aged for long-term commitment. My kind of place.

They will be open until June 2013, close for remodeling, and reopen in Fall 2013.

The Long Now Foundation site.

One thought on “The Here & Now of the Long Now

  1. Pingback: Eternity clock | champagnewhisky

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