If/Then (2018) – Gabey Tjon A Tham


Every day we are surrounded by machines and technological systems that have their very own internal clocks. The new installation, ‘If/Then’, by The Hague based artist Gabey Tjon a Tham seeks to make sense of these non-human systems of time we daily interact with. Our human perception of time is radically different than the workings of computational time and rules. We perceive time in a subjective and fluid way, while computer time, and rules, is measurable in strict and miniaturized sequences and programmed units. Inspired by quantum mechanics theory and code architecture, Gabey tries to reimagine a fundamental conditional statement ‘If/Then’ by implementing a natural, fluid element- water – in its execution process.

The If/Then statement is used in computer programming to create a decision structure: if A happens, then B or C is executed. Adding in a fluid into this rigid decisions systems, Gabey opens up new and unexpected outcomes and interactions within digital systems. If/Then investigates a more flexible way of experiencing computational time that is closer to our own perception.

The project is commissioned by FIBER and is created with the support of the Crossing Parallels programme (TodaysArt & TU Delft), Stroom and the Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie.