The Human Clock is a durational performance installation modelled on the appearance of the digital clock (16:46:07). A performer animates this simple machine using only her own embodied sense of time passing. In a play between the digital (image) and analogue (manual) presentation of time, she labours to turn time manually, literally with her hands. Paradoxically, in order to keep up with metered time, the performer must continually negotiate the difference between the sign of the numbers (the value it denotes in metered time) and the time taken by the action of turning the numbers. In particular time “lost” in the progressively more complicated manoeuvres of turning the double-figure minute (e.g. 12:09:59 to 12:10:00), the hour (12:59:59 to 13:00:00) and double-figure hour (19:59:59 to 20:00:00), must be anticipated by adjusting the rate of the seconds. In this sense the actions of anticipating time consumes attention; rather than enabling the projection of a future, we are constantly and perversely caught in the labour of time as a constantly looping experience of time disappearing.
The work has been performed at:
Sprint Festival, London 2014
Ian Abbott’s gif review, 2019
big time, performed by Elisa Vassena, Rise festival Findhorn
small time, performed by Janine Harrington, Rise Festival Findhorn
The Human Clock is part one my time pieces along with 10 Minutes, Screensaver Series and SOME TIMES.
The Human Clock is typically accurate to within a minute.
The work holds gallery/ festival/ site hours and is suitable for a range of contexts. It has been installed in train stations, shopping centres, town squares, gallery and various other festival contexts.
If you are interested in booking The Human Clock please contact for a tour pack.
This work was initially commissioned by AIR at Central St. Martins and Islington Borough Council as part of the A Million Minutes project in 2013. Together with 10 Minutes:live, this work was part of the solo exhibition 8640 Minutes (8640 minutes being the duration of the project).
The Human Clock has been performed by: Elisa Vassena, Fiona Millward, Elodie Escarmelle, Iris Chan and Janine Harrington.