New Work: Daniel Weil’s Clock for an Acrobat
“Just as gravity is the medium of the acrobat, so it is the medium of ‘Clock for an Acrobat,’” says Daniel Weil. Second in a series to his “Clock for an Architect,” Weil’s latest design revisits themes that have interested him for over 25 years.
In 1984, Daniel Weil designed “Hinge,” a clock that, through a collage of man-made art and industrial artifact, balanced the technological and human dimensions of time. For that clock, Weil used modest materials: plywood, wire, and an unassuming black plastic clock movement. The movement was originally manufactured to be anonymously hidden behind clock faces, but in the case of “Hinge” it is on display, surrounded by numbers printed on a flexible PVC sheet hung in front of it.
The new “Clock for an Acrobat” explores similar themes, creating instrument that literally plays with time. The materials are walnut and nickel-plated brass and silver. For the movement, Weil sought parallels between the way time moves in circles and in space, and the way an acrobat moves along a wire: both precarious, both precise, both balanced. As the wheel turns on its track, gravity steers the glass bearing to six o’clock. This prompts the user to reset the dial, acting as an active re-arranger of time.
The battery is held in midair by positive and negative power lines that feed the clock’s movement. Appropriately, it is the only part of this gravity-defined clock that defies gravity.