The fact that the scientific measurement of time isapproximate rather than precise results in uncertainty. Therefore, we cannotachieve the same certainty in time that we have in mathematics. The way inwhich Horn precisely quantifies and then loosely qualifies the images of waterin the photo-lithographs when she numerically orders and then footnotes thephotographs (Tate, 2009) assist us in understanding that the experience of timeis overwhelming, and therefore cannot only be described in numerical data. This is why although science and mathematics attempt todescribe time quantitatively, data is lost because time eludes metrics. When weattempt to describe time through science, we are not describing duration.Bergson considers the numerical description of time: ‘WhenI follow with my eyes on the dial of a clock the movement of the hand whichcorresponds to the oscillations of the pendulum I do not measure duration, asis seems to be thought; I merely count simultaneities, which is very different'(Bergson, 1910, pp.107-108).
Themeasurement of time has been attempted in a number of ways, all of which areknown to be not exactly precise due to a number of factors. The sundial was theearliest device for measuring segments of the day. A sundial works by observinga cast shadow (which occurs due to an upright marker) as it moves due to theposition of the sun in the sky as it rises and sets (Brunton, 1979). AncientEgyptian obelisks (instruments that measure the position of the shadow) wereconstructed circa.
3500 BC (Brunton, 1979). Sundials, which although arerelatively accurate, only work during the day time. At night, time was keptusing a merkhet, which was a device that ‘could check the transit of selectedstars across the meridian to calculate the hour of the night because of theposition of a ‘clock star’ in the sky at night’ (Brunton, 1979, p.107).
Hence,the scientific measurement of time depends on the position of the earth againstthe sun and the stars.In the essay ‘The Measure of Time’ by Henri Poincare foundin ‘Time and the Instant’ (2000) by Robin Durie, our inaccuracies in measuringtime are highlighted. Poincare asks the question: ‘can we transform psychological time, which isqualitative, into quantitative time?’ (Poincare, 2000, p.26). He looks at the example of the pendulum tomeasure time to attempt answering this question.
A pendulum is a timekeeping device that uses a weight to swingfreely as it is suspended from a pivot, each swing of the pendulum calculates asegment of time (Milham, 1945). Poincare notices the assumption ‘that all thebeats of this pendulum are of equal duration’ and that ‘this is only a firstapproximation; the temperature, the resistance of air, the barometric pressure,the place of the pendulum may vary’ (Poincare, 2000, p.26). Hence, we cannotreceive accuracy because there are a variety of factors that can cause differencesin the beats of the pendulum. Thus, there are factors beyond our control thataffects our ability to measure even scientific time accurately.
These factorsreflect the richness and diversity within time in that the components cannot beseparated to be discounted, and for time to measured accurately, thisseparation is necessary.In ‘A Thousand Plateaus’ (1999) by Deleuze and Guattari,they introduce ideas of the smooth and the striated as a conceptual pair as away to think about space. They describe smooth space as the nomad space, andstriated space as the sedentary space (Deleuze and Guattari, 1999). This meansthat smooth space is a space which refuses to be separated, such as a desert orwater. They cannot be detached or sectioned because there is no order and theyare constantly shifting.
A striated space is the opposite of this, for example,a structured city, which is something that can be easily divided. This drawsparallels with contemplating time; the smooth can be thought of as qualitative,and the striated quantitative. Examples of attempts to striate the smooth canbe used to answer Poincare’s question. Deleuze and Guattari use music to explain the smooth andstriated. Pierre Boulez considers the oppositions and loose relations between thetwo types of spaces. He says of them that the striated, ‘is that which intertwined fixed and variableelements, produces order and succession of distinct forms, and organiseshorizontal melodic lines and vertical harmonic planes…the smooth is the continuousvariation, continuous development of form, it is the fusion of harmony andmelody in favour of the production of properly rhythmic values, the pure act ofdrawing a diagonal across the vertical and the horizontal’ (Deleuze andGuattari, 1999, p.
477). Here we see Boulezbeautifully compare the smooth and the striated to music. He makes theunderstanding that the striated is very complex yet still structured, like thatof a quantitative multiplicity. And of the smooth he realises that it is acontinuous line, refused to be separated by the diagonal line.
Just like withtime, the diagonal line represents this non-separation between the past and thepresent, and the way in which it is infinitely divisible and therefore notactually able to be put into a numerical structure. The Maritime Model is alsoused to begin to understand the smooth and the striated, and the way in whichwe quantify time even though it is a qualitative multiplicity. Deleuze and Guattari note that,’of course, there arepoints, lines…in the striated space as well as the smooth space (there are alsovolumes…). In striated space, lines or trajectories tend to be subordinated topoints: one goes from one point to another. In smooth, this is the opposite…thepoints are subordinated to the trajectory’ (Deleuze and Guattari, 1999, p.
498).This means that instriated space lines travel in a linear direction, however in smooth space itis non-linear and much more complex in sense of direction.