Relative Clock

Exploring the ways we communicate time
Personal | 2017
The clock is one of the most iconic of communication tools — we all know how to read a face by angle of the hands alone. However, a clock does not communicate the experience of the passage of time, instead reflecting the fixed label of time right now. How could a time-telling device communicate pacing?
You’ll go to work at 9. At 12:30 you’ll meet a friend for lunch. The plane leaves at 8:55. Told by our clocks, mostly, these days, on our phones, synced up to satellites and aligned with each others’, absolute time exists on its own as a straight continuum, measured by constant and agreed upon units.  Whether this time exists outside of human measurement is debated by philosophers and physicists, but we use it to define past, present, and future, all as told by clocks and calendars.
There is, however, another sense of time, which is time as experienced, but not as defined. We can meet later, she went somewhere before she came here, this session is longer than that one. Relative time can be experienced differently by every person, even in the same period of absolute time. We measure it both against to other periods of time, but also against to our own experience, and psychologists posit the change of pace felt in moments of excitement or boredom as dealing more with our perception of how many events we process than the state of time itself.
Ticking patterns
On most standard clocks of both digital and analog varieties, the ticking mechanism is supporting actor to the number displayed on the face, the real way we tell time. Could this be inverted, so the ticking pattern is amplified to the point that someone in the room would notice it, and begin to consciously or subconsciously use it as a mental metric to measure time themselves? Initially, I ran tests following a standard clock tick, at a rate of 1 beat per second, and then a second version at a rate of about 1.3 beats per second, hoping the unexpected time would make the speed a bit more noticeable. Then, I decided to test a third theory:  by changing tick rate, could we change perception of passage of time?
How might a clock face communicate relative time?
It felt important to utilize the standard visual language of clocks to help communicate relative time. Signature clock shapes and fonts could be used as a shorthand that this object was a timepiece. As for the clock display, how does a clock face work without a number to orient oneself to. Is there a way the face can support the concept built with the tick pattern? Or is it best to let the ticking take the forefront for a more sensory way to tell time?