CLOCK HANDS, AN EXPERIMENT IN MAPPING (UN)EARTHLY TIME
A story titled “Lonely Planet: A Moon-Crossed Romance Between Earth And Time, Told On The Full Moon On Valentine’s Day” was typed on the Robotron Comfort 1981, a typewriter that was made the same year as the artist. Every line of the story took exactly 60 keystrokes to complete. After the story was typed, each individual character was read aloud at a tempo of 60 characters per minute, the speed of the second hand of a clock. This reading was recorded. During the “Clock Hands” performance, the resulting audio score was transmitted to the artist via headphones as she set to the task of retyping the story—a story whose meaning was lost in symbols disassociated by sound and slowness, while, at the same time, its new form as radio transmission was too fast for anticipating fingers. Built into the action was the inherent struggle to keep up, and the inevitability of falling out of time. Pieces of the story disappeared in the resulting textual time map. This a-rhythmic clock tick generated by the act of typing was amplified by giant speakers facing west, towards the past, while the artist was oriented east, towards the future.
The falling out of time in “Clock Hands” was mirrored in a sound installation in an adjacent room. Visitors could listen to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” for piano as it played over headphones at a beat a bit slower than 60 BPM. (It has been said that much of Beethoven’s music was composed to be played faster than humanly possible meaning we never hear it in its ideal form.) Across the way, a radio-controlled clock was visible. The tick of its second hand was dictated by Germany’s main atomic clock, located south of Frankfurt, which provides the time regime for all the so-called ‘slave clocks’ throughout the country. The lovelorn “Moonlight Sonata” could not keep up.
(The next possible date for this performance is 14 February 2033, the next time the full moon falls on Valentine’s Day.)s