Back to the Future

I recently found out through a tutor that one of my course-mates had considered working on an idea involving Casio wrist watches and their hourly alarms, but that he had given up after discovering that another artist had already developed the same idea into a piece.

I was curious (and apprehensive!) to learn more about the Casio watch piece, so I obtained from my course-mate a link to a blog post which mentions the work in question as well as describing other works in the exhibition the Casio piece was part of [all of these deal with the topic of time, though I am not sure they deal with aspects of time I am interested in exploring in my piece, but I have taken a look at each of these works nonetheless, as they may provide inspiration in the future].

The piece is by an artist called Ignacio Uriarte. Uriarte uses what he calls “the little creative moments within office-routines” as a starting point for his work, which features humble everyday objects found in offices as its  main materials. He has created a few pieces that in one way or another deal with time: “Accumulative Clock”, “All My Days” and the Casio piece, the one of most interest to me as it makes use of the sound of watch alarms, which is called “60 Seconds”.

Uriarte’s piece presents similarities to my idea, in that it makes use of the sound of clock alarms to say something about time. However, though the materials used are similar, the execution will be different (this might be comparable to two different paintings both making use of the same material: paint).

When looking at the comments posted on the blog reviewing the piece, I can see there are similarities in ideas which go beyond the use of similar materials: I too thought of showing the impossibility of capturing time by creating a constantly repeating sound piece (each instant would be a repetition/reiteration of something that has happened before at the same time, trapping the listeners inside the same 12 or 24 hours) which would start slowly degrading  as batteries ran out or the clocks went out of phase with each other. However, this is only one part of the time-connotations I would like to explore.

I also want to create a 12-hour (or 24: I still am undecided as I would like to only use non-digital clocks, which only span 12 hours) composition, that will captivate the listener and make them forget about time whilst constanly reminding them of it. This is what the BBC commenter brings up when discussing  Christian Marclay’s The Clock in the short video that I have embedded in one of my previous posts: he talks of how spectators watching the film and are engrossed in it and distracted by it from the passage of time… they forget about time, yet are paradoxically constantly reminded of it in Marclay’s work.

I have a tendency to write excessively long posts, so I will cut this one short here, but I would like to discuss the themes of my alarm clocks piece further. I will do so in a coming post.

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