Informationsdesign an der UdK Berlin

Antigone Debbaut, Krzysztof Pyda


The first phase of the project was devoted to understand the idea of entropy. It is often misleading and not always correctly used in different fields of knowledge. We are surrounded by the phenomena of the arrow of time. It is something so obvious that one can never ask himself a question: Why is time passing? And why can we see it? Entropy is the only quantity in the physical sciences that seems to imply a particular direction of progress in time, sometimes called »an arrow of time«. As time progresses, the second law of thermodynamics state that the entropy of an isolated system never decreases. Hence, from this perspective, the measurements of entropy are thought of something similar to a clock.

It quickly became clear that the time aspect of entropy and its relationship with the arrow of time will be the focus of the final product.To test the knowledge and make ourselves sure that we understand the topic clearly we conducted a series of experiments. During one day, we left a pile of confetti in the entrance of UdK, free to be damaged and spread all over the corridors by the students passing by. We took a track of the movement of the confetti in and out of the college every two hours, to understand the rapidness and direction of where it spread.

The clear irreversibility in time of this experiment is a good introduction for further understanding of the complexity of entropy and its relation to the arrow of time. It also illustrates the basic meaning of entropy in an understandable and basic way. A focus on the arrow of time followed as we researched about the duality of certain type of actions. Can one action be only repetitive and timesymmetrical, and one linear and asymmetrical? Is there a dichotomy between these two?

The final material consists of a great amount of information, complex theoretical explanations and visual material of playful experiments gathered and published in one publication which is divided in two parts, depending on their approaches: theory and experiment.