Mark Geffriaud, 2023
Present Perfect, 2023
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Present Perfect is an electronic device.
It starts when you plug it between a power socket and a lamp.
The lamp will then flicker randomly at the speed of an eye blink. The flashing is repeated at irregular intervals between 10 to 50 seconds. I choose this frequency because that’s how long short term memory is supposed to last. Short term memory works as a buffer memory.
Very intense, but very short. Basically, it’s what keeps us focused. For example, it’s thanks to short term memory if we can remember the beginning of a sentence, to be able to finish it. Or keep a phone number in mind, the time to note it down. It’s also thanks to this brief but very vivid memory if the present seems to last.
Without it, we would always have the impression of jumping from past to future.
So this also means that for us humans, the present lasts between 10 to 50 seconds.
It can sound little, but if you’re staring at a lamp, waiting for it to flicker, it can also seem surprisingly long.
Originally, I conceived this device to disrupt exhibition lightings.
I’ve used it several times to make al the lights flash at the same time in every room.
The first time I remember thinking that it might be too much.
But surprisingly, very few people noticed. Most of the time, we even had to point it out.
However, once you had noticed, it became very present.
A bit like an eye blink actually, that you tend to forget completely, unless someone starts talking about it.