Time Fears the Pyramids

New Affiliates & Farzin Farzin


Project Team:
Ivi Diamantopoulou, Jaffer Kolb, Farzin Lotfi-Jam, James Turle

We largely conflate technology with speed, imagining near futures that are dystopian and accelerated, efficient and lifeless. Technology is exclusively considered fast, dynamic, frenetic. The future is closer than it may appear--maybe just an invention away. It moves at the speed of a signal, transforms instantly, and displaces generations in ever-shorter cycles. But technology can move as slow as it does fast. What if we considered how it might resistprogress, counter efficiency and derail optimization?

Man fears time; time fears the pyramids, warns a 12th century Arab proverb. We understand the pyramid as the most enduring form of resistance: weathering the storms of humanity and cultural change. Pyramids allure us with myth, with scale, and with the impossibility of their construction. They seduce us with their platonic clarity, elemental materiality and ambiguous use. They withstand. They are a bit ridiculous.

For Tomorrows, the New Affiliates have produced a pyramid generator: a black box process that samples from the digital universe to produce new kinds of pyramids every four minutes. Whatever is plugged into the generator will read the pyramids: bring a printer, and you’ll soon find a stack of postcards; plug in your phone, and they’ll pop up on screen; attach a speaker and you’ll hear them described. Yet no matter your engagement, no matter the state of technological progress, and no matter time, the generator will continue forever; producing an infinite set of relations, networks and data all reduced to a platonic that only knows to resist.

Output 64.403--an HP Deskjet 1112 plugged into the Pyramid Generator printed out this pyramid, drawn from a random data aggregator that led to an article about the MTV cartoon Daria. The same pyramid simultaneously flashed on a television monitor, overlaid the home screen of an iPad, scrolled across a storefront LED sign, and interrupted a live recording on a local radio station. Thirty seconds later, it disappeared. Four minutes later, a new pyramid was generated.