After centuries with little innovation in chronometry technology, Circa Solar represents a new design for time-telling which seeks to realign our sense of time with that of the sun’s day-night cycles, and thereby enrich and extend our common understanding of the fourth dimension, time, beyond its mere quantification.
Circa Solar's simple design includes 12 watches presented in Lighten Up! as an illustrative spectrum of twelve months of the solar year aligned to a specific location, in this case to London.
It serves as a translational device between the modern division of time into twenty-four equal daily parts, and the ancient knowledge of time as a phenomenon of fluctuating daily and seasonal light cycles that act as ‘zeitgebers’ (time givers) to our internal body clocks.
Circa Solar visualises localised daily sunrise/solar noon/sunset/twilight times accessed from remote API data for any given latitude and longitude (here London) as continually changing ratios of light, transition twilight, and dark. Circa Solar allows us to experience the true ‘nature of time’ as an emergent phenomenon of celestial cycles while enhancing our immediate appreciation for the life-defining nature of circadian and seasonal rhythms.
Circa Solar was first developed as part of a 2019 artist-academic commission between Somerset House Studios resident Ted Hunt and Professor Matthew Soteriou of King's College London's Department of Philosophy. The project was subsequently iterated as a successful Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign in 2020, seeing the design released globally as a smartphone and smartwatch app for both Apple and Android platforms.