One Four Four Zero
Acrylic glass tubes in circular acrylic housing, 15 x 64 cm diameter
Escapement, Frith Street Gallery, London (2009)
One thousand four hundred and forty crystal perspex tubes, some square, some circular, some hexagonal, sit tightly packed in what looks like an transparent empty clock set on a plinth. Each handcrafted perspex tube suggests the slot each minute takes up in the course of a day. Together, their jagged profiles add up to the suggestion of a dense urban skyline, a crystalline Hong Kong grafted on to Manhattan or Sao Paulo in somebody’s lucid dream. They are reminiscent of a cross section of the retina, crowded with the photoreceptor rods and cones that carry light signals from the eye to the brain. Deep within the recesses of the brain, the pineal gland reads the light that comes in and transduces light to synthesize and secrete melatonin, the hormone that communicates a sense of ambient time to the body. Sometimes, the conditions that people are compelled to inhabit – prolonged stretches of distortion in ambient light levels, irregularities in sleep and wakefulness, induced by transcontinental flights, overwork, pharmaceuticals or torture – lead to distortions in the somatic sense of time. Then, time is really out of joint, under our skins, in our bones.