When I turned 24, I was working as a web developer at the University of Chicago. Employees in my department were expected to record the time spent on each activity every day, rounded to the quarter-hour. Thus, the unit in which I counted my work day changed from minutes to ‘quartiles’. A few months earlier, my department had dispensed with its old, error-prone tracking software, and began logging our time in a new web app called ‘Harvest’. I found the name a bit disconcerting. What exactly is being harvested
anyway? and who is the reaper?
To celebrate my birthday, which I felt to be a more realistic quarter-life marker than 25 (and a more pliable number), I decided to expand this regimen to encompass all 24 hours of the day, for four sets of 24 days — roughly a quarter of a year. I developed a grid system, which I could print out on a standard 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. I used these drawings each day, to keep track of my activities, both in and out of work. Each day connects to the next. Thus, the data of everyday life flows in a single line from the first quarter hour to the last. I also entered my time into a personal Harvest account, which I bought specifically for this project. The final piece is a seamless quilt of all 96 days. In the center of each fourth is with a tabular report of the total time spent on each activity per quarter.
The work is an homage to Tehching Hsieh, and On Kawara. It is also an attempt to make sense of Walter Benjamin’s Theses on the Philosophy of History, where flecks of spontaneity may still permeate the homogenized, calendar time of a society based on wage labor.