As humans we’re obsessed by time, with running through our days while also being in the moment. We’re a little confused about it. To get a more balanced, holistic view head to San Francisco’s The Interval, a unique blend of a café, salon, museum, and the home of The Long Now Foundation. Here time is very much slowed down and experienced for what it really is: infinite. Well that’s the hope anyway: Those books you’ll find on the floor-to-ceiling height shelves contain the wisdom to rebuild civilization.
The Interval is playing the longest of long games. Mechanical prototypes for a 10,000 year clock (yep, that blows our mind too) sit next to more contemporary, transient art exhibitions. Even the menu of bespoke drinks and food is time-inspired (see the perfectly named cocktail I’ve Grown to Love Life Too Much). But this is no gimmicky, temporal theme park. Rather this is a location that is thoughtfully (and maybe essentially) holding space for the idea that the long view matters.
This is made manifest most clearly in the program of conversations and lectures with scientists, technologists, creatives and entrepreneurs across subjects that take in climate, astronomy, psychology, the arts, any discipline really that intersects with an idea of the long-term (an approach that maybe encompasses everything, or should at least if we’re wise about it). Recent talks, available to watch online, have included primatologist Elizabeth Lonsdorf talking about how evolution and human behavior can be understood through studying primates, former NASA astronaut Ed Lu speaking to the importance of mapping our solar system, and historian Caroline Winterer on the idea of “deep time”, the billions of years we humans struggle to get our heads around.
You’ll find The Interval on one of our favourite sites in San Francisco, Fort Mason Center—which itself has evolved and shifted over its lifespan from military base to its latest iteration of culture center. Nab the coveted nook room for a coffee or drink, and you’ll also get a spectacular view of the city’s prized bay and the famous bridge that marks it entrance—testaments themselves to the natural and human forces that have shaped this region’s recent history. Then feel the awe of it all, the years past and those to come, while sipping on an in-the-moment latte and pulling one of those books, like Jorge Luis Borges’ Funes the Memorious or Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber, from the shelves. Then just be here right now.