Julian Hetzel: Time Machine

Time is money

The fear that ChatGPT and other AI technologies will take over our jobs is based on the belief that the labour of machines is cheaper than that of people, making it cost-efficient. But is that really the case?


In some cases, the time of the people who build and maintain machines is more costly than low-paid human labour. Jobs such as click workers, crowd workers or the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), show that sometimes it pays off to let people perform the tasks of machines.

Time Machine takes this principle and translates it into the technology of time itself, namely the clock. Time Machine outsources the task of clocking: in the 8-hour performance, the time is spoken live every few seconds by a speaking clock.

This service actually really exists: despite our smartphones, every month approximately 17,000 people call the telephone line (0900-8002) to hear the time.

Time Machine has been created as part of The Economy of Waiting (2014) and is now, 10 years after the premiere, performed again by the original cast.

As time goes by…


During WORK WORK WORK, Frascati will open its doors as a museum for performance art for four days. Each day the building will be open for eight hours, representing a working day. Dries Verhoeven co-curates the programme with his own work and that of others into a large number of performance, fine art and video works about the relationship between employer, employee and (art) consumer. Together, the artists explore the politics of the working body now and in the future.

Check out the other works of WORK WORK WORK