"My name is Mira and I am ticking." Thus Mira Kaddoura - an artist and creative director from Portland, Oregon - introduces her Wonder Clock. "I am also loving, creating, traveling, thinking, laughing, nurturing, evolving, and making money," she continues. "But the ticking is getting louder."
After an annual physical in her early 30s, the doctor warned: "If you really want to do this someday, you should start thinking seriously about it." Caught off guard, Kaddoura dived into a pit of deep thought, not just about whether she actually wanted children herself, but what the question meant for other men and women. After all, the topic of one's bio clock and the okay'ness of having offspring when the natural way has expired, is taboo. Which is an increasingly outdated concept in a world where women are putting off having children (naturally) until much later than their mothers' and grandmothers' generations. "It's such an intimate and personal thing, it's still a taboo, a sensitive topic," continues Kaddoura. "In the U.S. we are still having a hard time talking about how not to get pregnant. We're just not advanced as a society." After all, if you hit 42 and discover a tube closed or an unanticipated cyst, your options are limited to science or adoption - both spendy. "I think media and celebrities put this whole other aspect on things, too. We don't talk about how it's a donor egg; you think, I have plenty of time. But that's only if you have the resources." (image)
She actually wore her bio clock as a belt & presented it at Art Basel. Men reacted, surprisingly, from "'Wow, this is incredible" to "That's so funny." Kaddoura attributes their reactions to the "elephant in the room that no one was talking about."
There's no immediately-obvious reason a woman's fertility span should be taboo, especially for men, but I think putting it in the context of a clock, literally, touches on unisex fears of the way technology and our lifestyle have sped things up overall. "When I was a child, people used to talk about what would happen by the year 02000," observes Stewart Brand, the editor and publisher of the counterculture Whole Earth Catalog. "For the next thirty years they kept talking about what would happen by the year 02000, and now no one mentions a future date at all. The future has been shrinking by one year per year for my entire life. I think it is time for us to start a long-term project that gets people thinking past the mental barrier of an ever-shortening future. I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium."
His proposed Clock of the Long Now would have a "day" take 20,000 years to complete as a way of embodying "deep time" for people, plus make it interesting for them to visit and ponder. A prototype is on display at the London Science Museum. The name was coined by Brian Eno of Roxy Music fame; when he moved to NYC, he found that the American version of "here" and "now" were much more literal than he was used to in England, where the former didn't have to mean this room...literally nor was "now" limited to this next five minutes. I first heard of this clock when I interviewed Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired. “It’s about trying to encourage civilization’s length of attention span," he explains. "It is trying to encourage people to think in terms of multiple generations, to expand our sense of “now” from the last five minutes, the next five minutes or even …the next five years to a longer scale, of, you know, the last ten thousand years, and the next ten thousand years. That’s what we call the Long Now because it’s not the short now, it’s the long now, and as a prompt – as a reminder – of thinking in terms of thousands of years.”
And if you feel like an Ice Queen for ignoring your own ticking, this Super Ice Cube watch by Chopard will give you 1.1 million flashy reasons to tick off the minutes while you do decide. Covered in baguette diamonds and set in 18k white gold, it's actually water-resistant up to about 100 feet (30 meters)...oddly. And athough retailers no longer post the price, you'll know. (image)
To find out how this all relates to the FUTURENETIC fashion tribe, be sure to check out the podcast I recorded, Episode 66 - Tick Tock Goes Your Bio Clock:
The Wonder Clock (Mira Kaddoura)
Music: Kevin MacLeod, Incompetech.com
- Lesley Scott