Primer's explanatory diagram and timelines as a design tool

The blogpost Julian wrote yesterday about Primer reminded of this curious diagram that David Calvo sent me few weeks ago. The diagram is a tentative description of what happens in the movie.

Since the movie is about two engineers who accidentally created a weird apparatus that allows an object or person to travel backward in time, it becomes quite difficult to understand where is who and who is where. The diagram makes it slightly more apparent.

Why do I blog this? Rainy sunday morning thought. Apart from my own fascination for weird timelines, I find this kind of artifact interesting as a design/thinking tool... to think about parallel possibilities, about how an artifact or a situation can have different branches. Taking time as a starting point to think about alternative presents and speculative future is quite common in design as show by James Auger's interesting matrix.