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JB: Where are we in terms of implementation?

BRAND:Implementation is - and there's another domain here which emerge I guess that I brought to it, the idea of a library - that the clock provides context, but -The idea of content rather than context has been more appealing to some people than the clock - the idea of what do you do with information and knowledge and data over long periods of time - what kinds of things are not being well done by the archives and libraries and things that we have now, that might be served with an institution that has the ambition to - be useful for centuries - and some of the ideas that have come up there is being able to help maintain and fund very long-term scientific studies - longitudinal studies that go for centuries. If you want stop-motion film of glaciers moving up and down a mountain range we might be able to help you---be responsible for that. Things like that. So the library has been coming along more slowly than the clock - partly because the clock is such a specific designable thing, and the library is more of an idea that's still collecting ideas. In any case they're both proceeding, library slowly, clock quickly. We'll have an extremely amazing prototype clock starting to perform next year - the pieces are coming together now. We're building in California - parts are being done in Los Angeles, parts are being done in the San Francisco area; a lot of them are coming from hither and yon - the materials are high-tech, the very physical Monel Steel, Invar steel, tungsten carbide, synthetic sapphire, things like that. This prototype is going to be a prototype that not only shows that the works work, which is what you usually do with a prototype; it's actually also capable of lasting and running for 10000 years.

JB: Who's the architect?

BRAND: Danny. Danny Hillis is designing it; a lot of us are participating - Alexander Rose has been project manager, putting a lot of the things together on it; we've hired another engineer named Kiersten Muenchinger; Danny has been working with some people at Disney - and very serious engineering and design is going into this thing.

The prototype will be beautiful but will be nothing more than itself. I think when we start doing monumental clocks in the cities and in the desert somewhere, those will have a more architectural scale and architectural experience to them - this design over here this part of that approach is actually Alexander's design from a charrette we did in Aspen - the spiral which feeds into itself - and there's one form of the clock that might live very well in a design like that.

JB: Why desert?

BRAND:The problem with cities - cities, forests and rivers, ocean edges - they're all so volatile. And cities especially have such a high metabolism of stuff going through them and they're the targets for wars and so on - you can't really count on many centuries in the cities - you get in a sufficiently barren desert, it's not going to turn into agriculture, probably is not going to turn into a bunch of things; it's more stable. Mainly the experience, the present experience in a place like that is that it feels timeless. The place we'd most love to go is the Grand Canyon.


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