stereolithography 3d printing / CNC machining / CAD
Photosensitive resin, Acrylic, Brass, Stainless Steel



Chrolo is a reconciliation of seemingly contradictory attributes of time and timing.

Our common, everyday experience of time is often linear – going in one direction on a straight line. Some religions, however, conceptualise time as cyclical or circular. We experience both opposites on a daily basis through different units of time. Years are counted in linear numbers, whereas hours, minutes and seconds cycle through the hands of our circular watches. The helix, both circular and linear, is a solution to this structural, formal paradox of time. The sinusoidal profile of Chrolo demonstrates our experience of being, with both highs and lows, and, at times fast and other times slow.

The continuity of time has to be fragmented into discrete concepts for human use and understanding. This occurs through scientific units of time, but also in everyday parlance, for instance, the temporal triad of past, present and future. The present moment of which you are reading is now the past, while the future has surreptitiously slipped into the present. The experience of time itself takes time. The continuous helix of Chrolo is punctuated by precise one-second steps. Each step of Chrolo is self-correcting like a pendulum, no matter the speed of the ball, it takes one second to travel to the next step.

Time is an abstract concept, made concrete through temporal objects. Over time, we have associated sensory experiences of ticking clocks, dripping water, swinging pendulums and moving shadows to the passing of time. Chrolo further concretizes that experience through the tactile interaction of picking up a ball bearing and releasing it into its mouth. It is easy to tell how much time has elapsed by looking at the height of the ball on Chrolo. Every quarter rotation about its axis marks the passing of ten seconds, further indicated by an additional step. The passing of time is experienced aurally through clock-like ticking and the bell at the end, which signals the end of one minute.

At the heart of negotiating the formal aspects of Chrolo is questioning whether time is an objective aspect of nature or a subjective experience of humans. The beauty of spirals and helices is expressed in nature through organic patterns found in conches, nautili and aloe polyphylla and in engineering through the geometric forms of staircases and turbines. There is, however, a universality to the passing of time. Nothing escapes the creative and destructive forces of time. The same can be said of gravity – a constant for any Earth-dweller. Chrolo is designed to be gravity-powered due to its omnipresent nature.

Chrolo is made possible by revisiting old tools using new processes. There is a beauty to traditional temporal objects such as the hourglass. Unlike modern clocks that go on indefinitely without human agency, old time-keeping devices put humans at the centre of its actuation. An hourglass requires flipping, a candle needs to be lit and a water clock has to be filled. Similarly, Chrolo begins by human action. The precision of contemporary digital manufacturing techniques such as stereolithography 3D printing allows the creation of precise geometries that enable Chrolo and its intricate form. And hopefully, adds a new typology within the rich tradition of temporal devices.

Click here for unboxing, setup and maintenance instructions.

Matthew Lim + Loh Zhide 2018