It’s easy to assume that everyone in the world follows Randall Munroe’s geeky online stickman webcomic XKCD, since it seems all my friends do. For those that don’t, last Monday he put up a strip called “Time.” This strip, like his uber-large “Click-and-Drag”, plays with the conventions of the form. “Time” started out with a static, non-gag image with the hover-over label “wait for it.” Since then, he’s updated the image every half-hour to an hour, even though he’s done new strips on the usual M-W-F schedule. If you follow the images in order, “Time” shows two people (which XKCD devotees have dubbed “Cueball” and “Megan”) building a sand castle.
Here’s an animated gif of the images so far:
Here’s a quicker version, which you can also step through, speed up, slow down, etc.
Here’s the explanation page for it, as well as its own Wikia. We now have a real-life version of those people obsessively tracking online image snippets from Pattern Recognition, except we actually know who they’re from.
The obvious metaphor is how time continues to flow and things change when you’re not watching.
As of this writing, the images are still being updated. Munroe could keep updating that one comic for a long, long, er, time, especially if he decreases the update rate.
Conceivably, “Time” could be a long-running conceptual art project and keep updating for the rest of our lives, and beyond, like that German church playing John Cage’s “As Slowly as Possibly” for 629 years…