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Lost in Cyberspace

Not everyone dreading Year 2000

Big Bang 2000 seeks to create 'Global Artwork'

This article was originally published on July 14, 1998 by SignOn San Diego and Copley News Service.

The year 2000 is not looked upon kindly in much of the computer world. Understandably so – many older operating systems, especially among the large mainframe computers that run the world's banks, insurance companies and investment firms, will not be able to recognize the change from 1999 to 2000. The doom and gloom crowd is predicting everything from suddenly empty checking accounts to the end of Western Civilization as we know it.

But not everyone is taking that view – Jeffrey Charno sees midnight of Dec. 31, 1999 as a wonderful opportunity for the world.

And so while Bill Clinton is busy urging American businesses to do something – anything, please – about the Year 2000 bug, Charno is busy preparing a global artwork to celebrate the next century. (Which, technically, doesn't begin until Jan. 1, 2001, but 2001 doesn't have the glamor or appeal of 2000. I mean, who gets excited about watching the odometer hit 2001?)

Big Bang 2000 is still in its early planning stages, but the crux of it is built around the idea of collecting timepieces from every country on Earth. The collected watches and clocks will then be assembled into a piece of art of some kind by Dec. 31, 1999.

If the details are yet to be worked out, the Web site for Big Bang 2000 is already up and running at

On the site, you can find info on the Big Bang 2000 art project, get the latest count of timepieces donated to the effort (1,251 when we visited), learn how to get involved yourself, and check out a neat Java applet that counts down the seconds until the year 2000 (just the thing for managers of companies working on Y2K bug fixes).

There's an e-mail link that the organizers urge visitors to use to share their ideas for Big Bang 2000 – like where on earth to put the huge timepiece sculpture.

Peter Smith, who is working on the Big Bang 2000 project, said the likely site for the art project is in New York City, but that they are also looking at Europe and "other sites."

And they're not lacking in ambition. According to Smith, "We feel that if we don't get at least one watch or clock from every country on the world, then this project has failed."

They've got 18 months to get it together, and the Web site promises to post the latest updates. (There's another bonus to this Web site: Charno, one of the main organizers of the Big Bang 2000 project, also runs two funky record labels – Ellipsis Arts, which focuses on world beat, and The Relaxation Company, which publishes ambient and meditation recordings. You can get to the Web sites of both record labels from the main menu of the Big Bang 2000 site – Ellipsis Arts, especially, is one of the better labels around for finding world beat music.)