<aside> 🐡 Researcher: Gustavo Nogueira de Menezes

Gustavo Nogueira de Menezes (Gust) is a Brazilian researcher specializing in temporalities, the narratives and systems that influence our perception of time. Based in Amsterdam, he leads Torus Company and Temporality Lab, focusing on multiple temporalities from a decolonial perspective with a transdisciplinary global community. Since moving to Europe in 2017, he's been active in the Time Machine Organization and coordinates a cultural heritage and education project at the University of Jena, Germany. He's also studying for a Master's degree in Barcelona at ELISAVA University and collaborates with the Internet Age Media – IAM community to study how AI affects time perception. Gust's work has impacted various fields, collaborating with leading companies like Globo, Google, Netflix, Natura, Nubank, Santander, and Spotify. His research covers topics like social change, ancestry, speculative design, and decoloniality, providing insight into time's impact on human experience and inspiring a rethinking of our relationship with time.


Video: Introduction to Research Lead

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Preface: Ancestral AI

<aside> 🐚 TLDR: Ancestral AI explores natural and cultural temporalities to better understand how we might create alternatives to the culture of Big Tech’s AI development: ‘always-on,’ ‘fast-paced’ or ‘time-blind’. We document and investigate the wisdom of past generations, including time-tested approaches to building resilient complex systems.

In this research we ask: What can we learn from non-western and indigenous governance models, archiving practices, and data-led technologies?


1. How is your relationship with time, traveler?

1.1. Temporal experiences, and perceptions

Our notions of time shape our lives. From the moment our hunter-gatherer ancestors came together around the campfire to tell stories, we talked about time. As we observe the stars, the “Kosmos” time, a dance that we perceive to occur in a different rhythm from ours, here on earth; by observing nature, the “Chronos” time, the cycles and patterns that can be controlled, and which have allowed us to develop agriculture and with that the earliest civilizations beyond nomadism; and by looking at what exists within us, the subtle, subjective “Kairos” time, in which experiences occur and one hour may seem to take a year or a minute in what we call the flow state. And, yet, there is also the “Quantum” time, which shows us that time is ignorance. It teaches us about everything that exists beyond our humanity in a non-human – or more-than-human – realm.

1.2. Time orientations, past, present and future

Psychologist Philip Zimbardo says in The Time Paradox: The New Psychology of Time That Will Change Your Life that the way we orient ourselves in relation to the past, present, and future influences and drives our relationship with the reality around us. We turn to the future without knowing what we want from it and without taking into account what has already happened. This time-related blur brings consequences such as lack of memory and the propensity to commit the same mistakes from the past. Those time orientations acts as emotional drivers or lenses through we see and experience the world in western cultures.

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1.3. Beyond binaries: past x future, linear x circular, fast x slow

"A more profound alternative is suggested in the Slow Movement, which began in the 1960s and 70s as a counter-movement to the acceleration processes of the previous few decades. Its goals are to simplify life, fight for the right to pause, and return to a natural pace of live.” (Helga Schmid. 2020)

Exploring time involves transcending traditional binaries such as past versus future, linear versus circular, and fast versus slow. These dualistic views often restrict our understanding of time as either a historical record or a future projection, a set path or an endless loop, and a race against the clock or a leisurely pace.

Linear versus Circular Time: Western cultures traditionally perceive time linearly—a continuous progression from past to future. This view emphasizes a one-way, irreversible flow. In contrast, many indigenous cultures view time as circular or cyclical, where events and seasons repeat in a pattern, reflecting a natural order and renewal. This cyclical perspective encourages a deeper connection with the rhythms of nature and the universe.

Fast versus Slow Time: In modern society, the emphasis on "fast" time dominates—quick responses, rapid transit, instant communication. This often leads to a frantic pace of life, where the value of slowness is lost. The Slow Movement advocates for decelerating life's pace and emphasizes mindfulness, quality over quantity, and the richness of experience over the speed of completion.

Past versus Future Time: This binary reflects our orientation towards time—either anchored in what has been or focused on potential futures. A balanced view, however, appreciates the lessons of the past while being open to the possibilities of the future. Integrating both orientations fosters a deeper understanding of the present and a more holistic approach to time.