United Arab Emirates

Time Is Subjective

Tinkah’s ‘Time Is Subjective’ installation suggested that for a young, confident nation developing at breakneck speed, time appears to be at one’s command.

The change of speeds throughout the 7 Emirates provided the inspiration for the United Arab Emirates’ installation, Time is Subjective. A repetition of hourglasses, arranged in rows appeared suspended in mid-air and rotated intermittently. The link to the UAE’s rapid growth was overt: the sand that filled the hourglasses is the UAE’s most ubiquitous material.

The theme of subjective time reflected the designers’ sense of pride in a nation that in less than half a century has transformed vast expanses of desert into an ever-changing urban skyline. The country is, as they say, in a constant state of motion, achieving milestones no one thought possible, which creates the effect of making time seem slower and more tangible. “The speed of time is a subjective, ever-changing and even controllable element,” they said. “Time can sometimes feel so tactile, something you can almost touch.”

And yet, for all the confidence they expressed in their fledgeling nation, Tinkah also drew a link between the passage of time and human mortality: “Although time is controllable to a certain degree, it is also fleeting. In youth, a year appears like forever, but as you grow, a decade passes in a click.”

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Photography: Ed Reeve


Design Team:



Reem Al Ghaith, Kholoud Sharafi, Carlos Gris, Hamza Al Omari, Claudia Rivera

Supporting Bodies:

Office of Public & Cultural Diplomacy and UAE Embassy in the UK

2018 Exhibitors