Erik Adigard / M.A.D. (with Dave Thau), Timelocator, 2001


Artist Bio

Erik Adigard attended the University of Censier in Paris and the Beaux Arts in Montpellier. He completed his studies in the United States where he obtained a BFA at the California College of Arts and Crafts in 1987.

Since 1989, Erik Adigard has been a principal of M.A.D., a multidisciplinary new media design studio whose main activities include concept development as well as print and Web design for major high-tech companies, national magazines, and nonprofit organizations. After producing a large body of editorial design and imagery for Wired Magazine, beginning with the January 1993 premier issue, Erik joined Wired Digital in 1996 and remained as Design Director until 1998. Among his main contributions to the company were the graphical interfaces of HotBot, WiredNews and the Wired "push" channels, especially LiveWired which he conceived with Gary Wolf and whose 1.0 version was acquired by SFMOMA.

Some recent projects are the 1999 IDCA entire design package and the book Architecture Must Burn. Erik has worked consistently on experimental art projects in various media including large installations.

His work has been featured in many international publications, such as Graphis, BAT (France), Blad (Holland) and Page (Germany), and he has participated in exhibitions at various institutions including SFMOMA, Postmasters Gallery, Dai Nippon Pavilion (Japan), GenArt (SF) and the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum.

Erik Adigard / m.a.d. (with Dave Thau), Timelocator (detail), 2001

Dave Thau (Programmer)

Dave Thau has been creating web applications for seven years. During that time, he has co-founded bianca.com, was the Director of Software Engineering and then Senior Scientist at Wired Digital, written The Book of JavaScript, and has taught JavaScript and Perl to countless designers, production people, engineers, artists and feisty teenagers. He is currently the CEO of bianca.com and the CTO of Nerve, Inc.

Additional information about activities, exhibits and publications can be found at M.A.D.'s Web site www.madxs.com

Artist Statement

Timelocator is part of a series of "Webclock" designs. They express my belief that, especially in this new millennium period, technology has become a vehicle to travel through time, rather than through space. In the datasphere we have quickly learned that space exists in non-physical ways, which is to say that perhaps it exists "less." The flip side of this notion is that there is more of time. It is fluid and everywhere. Time is saved and even multiplied by automation and multitasking. In between these two sides is the notion of memory that perhaps is taking the place of space in its continuum with time.

The advantage of time over space is that it has events, and with events comes the notion of history and memory. Memory is what we find in all the places of cyberspace; it is what makes the "space" as air "makes" the space in a balloon, which if not inflated would be a flat object.

Timelocator mechanically moves icons around the screen in an endless and repetitive fashion. It is set in motion and in meaning by the most basic components of the medium: the machine and its environment. Unlike other machines that, once created, will exist regardless of our existence, Timelocator only exists when set in motion by a user and it then appears among the deluge of hours and seconds that is our online environment. Timelocator therefore becomes a timed piece: its size will, over time, be measured in so many seconds.


Timelocator fragments time like a regular clock — in hours, minutes and seconds. Instead of being numerals, the units are sixty stills, or animation loops, that run in sequence. The appearance of each loop, whether as second, minute, or hour, is dictated by the computer's clock. During the hours, twelve of the sixty loops will run in endless repetition, but the seconds will not allow the user to see any complete loop. Yet they will allow the user to have an overview of the whole sequence.

The location of each loop is fixed on the screen, but the relationship of these loops with the screen or with us is relative. It changes when we see Timelocator though the macro, human, or micro filters, as the piece scales itself in accordance to its matter (pixels) or its context (the Net).

The three points as they move around the screen become tentacles that reach out and grab other locations on the Web. Each one of these locations, in turn, is both a point in cyberspace and a tale in our life, but they only come back to us filtered by the Timelocator's own story.


We produce and design because we can, because we must, because we seek, or because we cannot do otherwise. We create art to "undesign" what we already conceived as designers.

Modern tools come and become obsolete before we can even master them. The Web is still a space and a tool that conjures the infinite, the magical, or the impossible. Art is a means of demystification. We apply art to allow the moment and the medium to express themselves. The outcome is not, nor should it be, in our control, so that the observing of that expression can become a form of exploration and discovery. In final analysis the whole process is more one of design than art.

The "voice" I hear and the structure I see are both mechanical. The process was one of engineering rather than craft. And yet it is a craft — it is the craft of the moment.

Please Note

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Major support for e.space has been generously provided by the James Family Foundation.