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Chronophage
September 19, 2008 8:15 AM   Subscribe

"'It is terrifying, it is meant to be,' said John Taylor, the creator and funder of an extraordinary new clock to be unveiled tomorrow by Stephen Hawking at Corpus Christi College in Cambridge. 'Basically I view time as not on your side....'" The Corpus Clock. (via)
posted by Kronos_to_Earth (97 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
That is astonishing.

And it makes me think of the intro Arch Oboler had on all his radio shows: IT. IS. LATER. THAN. YOU. THINK.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:28 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


"For all its apparent eccentricity, the clock is based on solidly traditional clockwork - unusual in these days of digital electronic clocks. It has taken seven years' research and construction, incorporates six patented inventions, and is predicted to run for at least 250 years assuming the world lasts that long."

That is freaking awesome.
posted by cashman at 8:28 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The Chronophage. A real-life, right-there Doctor Who monster.

(Only there's no real Doctor to stop it. Ever.)
posted by grabbingsand at 8:31 AM on September 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


I love the interior mechanism. I want his crew to design my house.
posted by aramaic at 8:35 AM on September 19, 2008


Time flies like... a dragon!
posted by Guy_Inamonkeysuit at 8:39 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are there photos, or only video? Eponysterical!
posted by ardgedee at 8:45 AM on September 19, 2008


As an old member of Corpus Christi, I'd like to point out Dr Taylor is a bit of a legend - he made his money designing electric kettles (he holds some patent on the thermostats that help them turn off IIRC) and has given a sizeable chunk of the fortune he earned to helping lower-income students and for building a new library at Corpus. This clock (which will hang outside said library) and his geeky devotion to it is just that little bit extra AWESOME on top.
posted by qwghlm at 8:48 AM on September 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


I love to be surprised and awed by great art. This definitely did the trick.
posted by frykitty at 8:49 AM on September 19, 2008


OH MY GOD THAT IS THE COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN!!!!!!!!!!
posted by shmegegge at 8:53 AM on September 19, 2008


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by shmegegge at 8:53 AM on September 19, 2008


My god, how beautiful.
posted by rtha at 8:57 AM on September 19, 2008


...

Am I the only one here who thinks this is extremely tacky and cheap looking?

It looks like something you'd find wedged behind the seat of a Phillipino taxicab.

I'm sure it's much more than this, what with all the patents and years of development, but the final appearance is, well, gross.

p.s. It's 12:02 pm. The little numbers in the upper right corner of my laptop tell me this.
posted by chronkite at 9:03 AM on September 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Yes, but are the little numbers in the upper right corner of your laptop being devoured by a clockwork dragon?
Also, I totally want one of these.
posted by wanderingmind at 9:05 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


My broken watch is more accurate, theoretically.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 9:06 AM on September 19, 2008


Can I has a replica?
posted by Edgewise at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2008


That's quite beautiful.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 AM on September 19, 2008


Incredible. Beautiful.
posted by lordrunningclam at 9:11 AM on September 19, 2008


That is a beautiful thing. Damn.
posted by everichon at 9:14 AM on September 19, 2008


Tempus fugit, more like tempus HOLY CRAP
posted by Spatch at 9:18 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Love it. Want a replica.
posted by Bookhouse at 9:19 AM on September 19, 2008


Am I the only one here who thinks this is extremely tacky and cheap looking?

So far, yes.

I loved this part of the article, for some reason: The rippling gold-plated dial was made by exploding a thin sheet of stainless steel onto a mould underwater: none of the team actually saw it happen because the only place in the world which could make it was a secret military research institute in Holland.
posted by rtha at 9:24 AM on September 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Gorgeous! (Of course, it wouldn't be MetaFilter without one person coming in to say "meh.")
posted by languagehat at 9:26 AM on September 19, 2008


WANT.
posted by nowonmai at 9:28 AM on September 19, 2008


Beautiful. But:

Basically I view time as not on your side. He'll eat up every minute of your life, and as soon as one has gone he's salivating for the next. It's not a bad thing to remind students of.

I could have stood to be reminded of that a bit less often, personally, when I was a student.
posted by gurple at 9:29 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Really beautiful. I'm disappointed and oddly relieved at the same time that critters like that don't exist in the world.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:31 AM on September 19, 2008


The grasshopper escapement is truly far out, but I don't like the LEDs. I mean, it's not like I think it's ugly, but I'd prefer it entirely without electrical parts.
posted by adamdschneider at 9:31 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


p.s. It's 12:02 pm. The little numbers in the upper right corner of my laptop tell me this.

But the little numbers in the upper right corner of your laptop don't threaten to devour your soul.
posted by cashman at 9:32 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: The only place in the world which could make it was a secret military research institute in Holland.
posted by lukemeister at 9:36 AM on September 19, 2008


Am I the only one here who thinks this is extremely tacky and cheap looking?

count me as another that thinks it looks cheap -
looks like something you'd win at a carny booth throwing rings. the patents better be good 'cause it sure is ugly
posted by offtheroad at 9:38 AM on September 19, 2008


Since I don't believe in Time, or the Soul, I am not worried much about either.

I am a professional artist, however, and in my professional opinion this clock looks like the Brass Monkey's puckered asshole, with ground effects.
posted by chronkite at 9:39 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

posted by rusty at 9:42 AM on September 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Needs more steam.
posted by Sailormom at 9:55 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


You're older than you've ever been.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.

You're older than you've ever been.
And now you're even older.
And now you're older still.

TIME! Is marching on.
And time.. is still marching on.
This day will soon be at an end and now it's even sooner.
And now it's even sooner.
And now it's even sooner.
This day will soon be at an end and now it's even sooner.
And now it's even sooner.
And now it's sooner still.

You're older than you've ever been.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.
And now you're even older.

You're older than you've ever been.
And now you're even older.
And now you're older still.

posted by batmonkey at 9:57 AM on September 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


I love visible clockworks.
posted by Nelson at 10:03 AM on September 19, 2008


Can't sleep . . . clock'll eat me . . . Can't sleep . . . clock'll eat me . . .
posted by Flipping_Hades_Terwilliger at 10:06 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm surprised no one's quoted this little ditty yet:

"Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.

So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you're older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way
The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I'd something more to say."
posted by StrangeTikiGod at 10:07 AM on September 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


(Only there's no real Doctor to stop it. Ever.)

Yes there is. His name is Oliver Rackham.

I don't like the LEDs. I mean, it's not like I think it's ugly, but I'd prefer it entirely without electrical parts.

Even that is secretly cooler than it looks. Check out this video.
posted by jb at 10:14 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Hmm. Looks like the product of some crappy steampunk modder, especially the lights.
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on September 19, 2008


Sorry, didn't notice that vid was in the post.
posted by jb at 10:15 AM on September 19, 2008


The fact that it pauses every once in a while is really neat, and more than a little disturbing. I suspect that if you had something like this in your house, the sound would eventually drive you mad.

At which point you'd probably write a lot of speculative horror fiction involving themes with ancient evil gods and malevolent timepieces that can open portals to their dimension.
posted by quin at 10:17 AM on September 19, 2008


I think it's cute hearing an gray haired Englishman saying trippy things about time pulsing through the universe. Wanting the youth of the world to think about time slipping away..

***SPOILER ALERT: Dr. Taylor is an old man, and will be gone from this world in the blink of an eye.
posted by Meatbomb at 10:18 AM on September 19, 2008


It keeps time, AND eats your babies!
posted by Lacking Subtlety at 10:22 AM on September 19, 2008


So it's a langolier?
posted by cog_nate at 10:25 AM on September 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


Tempus FugggCK WHAT IS THAT THING!!!? (on preview, what Spatch said.)
posted by not_on_display at 10:28 AM on September 19, 2008


Lovely, but it's going to be a bastard to dust.
posted by Abiezer at 10:30 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Now I know what I will steal first, when I learn to stop time.
posted by oddman at 10:31 AM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


fine, if it's quoting we're doing:

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

posted by shmegegge at 10:36 AM on September 19, 2008


Watch yourself around that chronophage, Kronos.
posted by homunculus at 10:41 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Will this make the bus get me to work on time?
posted by doctorschlock at 10:42 AM on September 19, 2008


I prefer Douglas Adams' take on time.

Time is an illusion, lunchtime, doubly so.
posted by doctor_negative at 10:42 AM on September 19, 2008


It is 1:46 and Corey Doctorow just spooged all over your giant steampunk insect clock.
posted by The Bellman at 10:47 AM on September 19, 2008 [6 favorites]


I want this in my den.

Since I don't have a den, I'll build a den around it.
posted by Avenger at 10:52 AM on September 19, 2008


What a wonderful clock! Thanks for the post.
posted by dhruva at 10:54 AM on September 19, 2008


Its so cool this is public. Not hidden away in the corner of a building someplace, but out where EVERYONE can get disturbed by it.
posted by sandraregina at 11:09 AM on September 19, 2008


It may look ugly to some, but I fail to see how anyone could describe it as cheap unless they perhaps only looked at the photo briefly or watched a short part of the video. The closeups especially show it to be incredibly well crafted. I personally love the way that the eyelids open and shut, and I think that the smaller details on the Chronophage (the eyes themselves, the claws, and the mouth) were all done superbly.

I'm not a huge fan of the led lights themselves, although I prefer them to light sources that would consume a lot of energy. If it had been possible, using natural light somehow (by placing the clock against a window) that transitioned to leds when it was darker might have been a more visually pleasing solution. Ultimately though his point was to make a clock that used light to show the time (which is clever but in some ways doesn't match up totally with the idea of the chronophage, I think). Since the time markings were based on a system of slits, light had to be used.

Basically, whenever I see something awesome like this, that combines mechanical aptitude, ingenuity, and beauty, I feel inept and talentless. I would be very interested in teaching myself simple mechanics, but I'm pretty sure that my flaws in this area (general clumsiness, an inability to understand visual and spatial information written out, and problems with visualization in general) would ensure that the best I could ever do would be pretty mediocre at best.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:14 AM on September 19, 2008


I am a professional artist, however, and in my professional opinion this clock looks like the Brass Monkey's puckered asshole, with ground effects.

Well, I'm a professional art critic (for very low-paying values of "professional" most of the time, but still) and in my opinion it's 17 million different kinds of AWESOME.

So there. Thomas Kinkade, the Painter of Shite (TM) probably doesn't like it either. And he could buy and sell the both of us.

Amazingly, people have different opinions about works of art!
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:21 AM on September 19, 2008


They're not saying it's cheap, they're saying it looks cheap. Decoratively, not engineeringly.
posted by mendel at 11:32 AM on September 19, 2008


It's almost as loud as a Swatch.
posted by paddysat at 11:47 AM on September 19, 2008


~Amazingly, people have different opinions about works of art!~

It looks like it was designed by Gandalf and Flavor Flav on a crack binge at a custom car show in San Juan. "OH SNAP, 'DALF! THAT DRAGON IS TEH SHIZZNIT!"

Like Dr. Theopolis got bronzed by Gaudi.

I swear, someone just drove by with Spinnaz that look exactly the same.

I'm sure it tells some great time though.

p.s. it's 2:52 now
posted by chronkite at 11:53 AM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


SO COOL. I'm going to stand in front of it and get mesmerised every frickin' day.
posted by monocot at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2008


I was thinking of getting one, but "[...] then offered to create and donate the £1m Corpus clock to the library. I can't afford £1m. I blame the exchange rate and the falling dollar.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:23 PM on September 19, 2008


Excellent work. And it is beautiful...but...
It makes me think of “ Chronopolis ” by J.G. Ballard. The city does not keep time, there are no clocks, they’re outlawed. Someone obsessed with time keeps re-inventing timepieces, clocks, etc. Furtively checking them when he’s working, etc. And the authorities discover them and put him in jail for 20 years. He’s pleased to notice there’s a little clock just over the door of his cell. At first.

So time is devouring us. So it’s not on our side. So?
We’re not getting around the second law of entropy any time soon. We’re not going to win. We’re not going to break even. And we can’t stop playing. And we’re all going to die, individually, personally, at some time.

Even more - you are not the person you were a few years ago. Hell, a few minutes ago. Change is an eternal constant.
So it’s not even a matter of death but of alteration that has destroyed you without even taking your life.

So fuck it. Go bowling. Build something beautiful knowing it will erode and be destroyed some day.

That’s one of the components of beauty. It’s beautiful - now. And it’s here - now. It has presence. It doesn’t stand against time to win, but because it’s uniquely experienced.
And it’s constantly changing even while remaining constant because your perspective is constantly changing, so perhaps you see new things in it even while appreciating what you saw on first blush.

There are many other things that makes something beautiful that other folks are far more qualified to comment on. But I do know death and change.
And transience of experience is one of the things that makes certain moments priceless.
Indeed, I believe Nietzsche said a true immortal - unchanging - would be a blight on mankind (and said one has to pay for immortality by dying at least several times).
So it is not that the art be indestructable - it’s that it is shared through commonality of experience, that even as it differs from person to person it echoes in us as a kind of truth in what it is to be human.

‘We have art so we shall not be destroyed’ - brilliantly self referential here and in contrast to the stated message. Magnificent, really.

Not that I think folks will plug into that. But I mean, if time is not on our side, why waste time and effort building this thing?
qed.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:25 PM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's very impressive at first, but loses something of its charm when you learn it took seven years and cost two million dollars (that's a team of four well-paid people working full time on it for seven years).
posted by Pyry at 12:33 PM on September 19, 2008


~loses something of its charm when you learn it took seven years and cost two million dollars (that's a team of four well-paid people working full time on it for seven years).~

Right. While children in Haiti eat mud.

No wonder they view time as a devouring demon! They are wasting it in the most egregious manner imaginable, while the world crumbles around them.

You want to make art? Grab a pencil and some paper and draw something. 25 cents, max.

This is an abomination.
posted by chronkite at 12:40 PM on September 19, 2008


(Obligatory link to Long Now's 10,000 Year Clock concept - including two prototypes and various drool-inducing concept art)
posted by bhance at 12:46 PM on September 19, 2008


This is an abomination.

Same thing could be said of everything you own. Imagine the money wasted on surfing the internet. All that electricity. Just think of it. A couple bucks saves a life -- anyone who pays money for internet access is saying that their ability to post their opinion, or watch 2 Girls 1 Cup, is more important than the lives of children. Just try to tell a dying kid that you really needed those websites.

...let me know when you've sold all of your possessions in a vain attempt to save the world. Until then, that particular criticism rings a bit hollow. Talk the talk? Then walk the walk. Go on, I dare you. Not part time either; full-on.

As far as the exterior being ugly, I'll give you that. It's all about gears and machining, for me.

Also, your favorite band sucks.
posted by aramaic at 1:26 PM on September 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


I will agree with the detractors about the ugliness -- like aramaic, I like gears and machining, and also I dislike gold/brass intensely. But other than that, oh my fucking god this is awesome.

How long till I can get a little one for my wall?
posted by rifflesby at 1:47 PM on September 19, 2008


chronkite, how many times are you going to feel obliged to point out that you don't like this? We get it, we really do, but your compulsion to keep telling us is getting a little creepy. And by posting here, you are wasting time in the most egregious manner imaginable, while the world crumbles around you.
posted by languagehat at 1:58 PM on September 19, 2008


Chronkite is just sore because this steals the thunder from his competing project, in which the clockwork being that keeps time is a lovable child flying a kite through a sky of minutes.
posted by No-sword at 2:35 PM on September 19, 2008


Ahhahahahahah.

Touche.

Actually, I've spent about 20 minutes on this, and by my measure about 7 cents.

I've also been drawing a big tattoo for a client, and writing to friends in far off places. Not exactly wasted time.

Oh well, just thought it would be good to balance out some of the OMFG IT'S BEAUTIFUL.

*Sending 50% of proceeds from this tattoo to Haitian relief, just out of hatred for this clock.
posted by chronkite at 2:40 PM on September 19, 2008


It's beautiful. I'm envious of all who get to see it in person. May I one day join their ranks.
posted by batmonkey at 2:55 PM on September 19, 2008


Oh wow, that's a piece of beauty.
posted by arcticwoman at 3:15 PM on September 19, 2008


Lovely! Is it perpetual motion?
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 3:32 PM on September 19, 2008


This is amazingly beautiful and awesome.

(and no Flip has put anything this fricking amazing/awesome/secular in their car, taxicab, whatever. signed, a half-flip)
posted by NikitaNikita at 3:40 PM on September 19, 2008


I'm glad it won't be used to time exams.
posted by longsleeves at 3:43 PM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


It strikes me as part medieval astrolabe and part 18th-century automaton with some nice apocalyptic blinking lights thrown in for good measure. It's stunning and I love it!
posted by Heretic at 3:48 PM on September 19, 2008


Been waiting all day to look at this -- can't view it from work.

Fantastic. Love it.

The illumination via slits, keeping the whole bank lit, seems wasteful, but I take the point that the whole bank is a mere 60w. I love the original grasshopper escapement, too, but this... zowie.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:22 PM on September 19, 2008


I will agree with the detractors about the ugliness -- like aramaic, I like gears and machining, and also I dislike gold/brass intensely.

Surely that's part of the effect. The gold and brass suggest aggressive ostentation, idolatry, and the naked display of power and wealth. Every time people check the time on this clock, they'll be reminded that not only is time hideous, but it's completely unassailable and they have to worship it. It has strength without any restraint; it doesn't need to have good taste, because nobody is powerful enough to judge it. I think this is what some of the detractors were groping towards with the quasi-racial insults (looks like Flava Flav designed it, looks like it's from the Philippines, etc).
posted by stammer at 5:35 PM on September 19, 2008


Hi everyone! I'm at Cambridge (St. John's), and my flatmate is the director of the Corpus Christi Choir. We walked over to see the unveiling this evening. I took some photos [1] [2] [3]. It was a bizarre evening.

The crowd was modest, but there was a large contingent of fellows in black tie and gowns on a dais overlooking the unveiling. We had been told that the event started at 5:30, so there were plenty of spectators to listen to the (very tight) brass band which suddenly appeared in crisp blue uniforms to play the theme to The Great Escape and Les Mis (did I say it was bizarre?).

Hawking came in his little black car and after the fellowship processed, went up the ramp onto a makeshift stage. The Master of Corpus spoke for a moment, praising John Taylor as the greatest inventor in college history (the engineers will never hear the end of it-- since Taylor's work on electric kettles was hardly challenging science). Then Taylor spoke some unmemorable words for a brief moment, introducing Stephen "Hawkins" which was how everyone decided to pronounce "Hawking" for the evening.

Then the great physicist spoke, using his synthesizer. He discussed his great love of time and interest in questions such as "where does time come from" and "what is it made of?" And then, he plugged his book!. He said something to the effect of, "For more information about my ideas on time, please read my book, A Brief History of Time". He could have added, "for only 14.99 GBP".

They got the timing very wrong. Hawking often has very long pauses due to his need to use a synthesizer, and they clearly hadn't worked with him before. After only a few sentences, they dropped the curtain, but he hadn't yet gotten to the point where he was to say, "I'm pleased to unveil..." He wasn't able to see the curtain, and he can't look behind him, and had he known what they did, he couldn't have responded quickly enough anyway (sentences take him forever to write/speak). It thus was awkward when he *did* reach the unveiling point of his speech. And then, they suddenly became so hypersensitive to his pauses that they never noticed when his speech ended. I felt bad for him as his eyes darted left and right-- having been trotted out for the PR machine. I imagine he's happily back on his way to CERN by now.

My photos aren't great. Although I was right behind the press, a rather portly chap in a blue shirt pushed me to the side and tipped the barriers on his way into the press/fellows area. He stood directly in front of me, and I had to reach to take the photos. I enjoyed watching him squirm as he realised that while mere brazen luck and a lull in the attention of security staff had gotten him up front, he was going to have to socially engineer his way back, among elite academics in regalia. He tried to pretend to interview people, but it didn't work, and he was sent packing.

Today was a fabulous day. Now whenever a Corpuscle is late for a meeting, I can excuse them loudly with a display of self-righteous largesse: "well, her college clock doesn't work, after all. We should be forgiving." :-)
posted by honest knave at 6:20 PM on September 19, 2008 [9 favorites]


Oh, and they went there. The Master of Corpus called Hawking a "Our very own Time Lord".
posted by honest knave at 6:21 PM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Also, your favorite band sucks."
posted by aramaic

What!? It's YOUR favorite band that SUCKS! Arrghhh!
*flips out*

Yeah, I think the point of it is to affect consciousness in just such a way. What's not being done? What are you not aware of? Are you using the time you have?
And how crucial it is we do connect through that shared experience. Something like this greatly contrasts non-art type things. And I agree, there are similar arguments to be had over any mundane thing.
This and things like this, most any worthwhile art, transcends those concerns. Certainly feeding people is important. But man can't live without nourishing the soul. And indeed, without such art as reminders, life would be as brutal and short as it is without civilization.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:32 PM on September 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love this and will be thinking about it for a long time; thank you for posting it.
posted by lalex at 7:11 PM on September 19, 2008


It's amazing-looking, beautiful, intricate, fantastic work - but it makes a godawful noise. Obviously, it's meant to, but equally obviously, this limits its usefulness as a clock. I pity anyone forced to spend any length of time near it.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:41 PM on September 19, 2008


Everyone's favorite band (but mine) sucks.

Inifnity.

Plus infinity.

Times infinity.

Infinitely.

So there.
posted by Samizdata at 8:38 PM on September 19, 2008


Am I the only one here who thinks this is extremely tacky and cheap looking?

YOUR FAVORITE CLOCK SUCKS.

(I like it...)
posted by mecran01 at 8:54 PM on September 19, 2008


Yeah, and we all have such a great idea what being used to the sound in real life is gonna be like, from hearing it new in a couple minutes' strangely-mastered video as mangled by .flv ...

The only thing cooler than this clock would be if it had this clock concealed at the heart of it.
posted by eritain at 9:04 PM on September 19, 2008


The mechanism is cool but I don't like the way it looks. There is beauty in the child-like playfulness, more than the appearance of the monster bug with moray eel-like teeth. I like the marvelous strangeness of the light going around like a roulette wheel, stopping and starting oddly.

I do love the whole beauty of clockwork types of mechanisms. It was nice to learn about the Grasshopper escapement and because of that more about John Harrison, who invented that ingenious gizmo.

Seven years seems substantial thinking about John Taylor's investment into this Corpus clock. But then I read:
The priceless Late Regulator clock took John Harrison, the pioneer of longitude, 36 years to build and he was still calibrating it when he died at his home in London on March 24, 1776, his 83rd birthday.

Another playful clock with an opposite feel. (* momentarily wants)

honest knave
, thanks for the interesting witness anecdote and pics.
posted by nickyskye at 10:11 PM on September 19, 2008


This clock reminds me of The Masque of the Red Death:

"It was in this apartment, also, that there stood against the western wall, a gigantic clock of ebony. Its pendulum swung to and fro with a dull, heavy, monotonous clang; and when the minute-hand made the circuit of the face, and the hour was to be stricken, there came from the brazen lungs of the clock a sound which was clear and loud and deep and exceedingly musical, but of so peculiar a note and emphasis that, at each lapse of an hour, the musicians of the orchestra were constrained to pause, momentarily, in their performance, to hearken to the sound; and thus the waltzers perforce ceased their evolutions; and there was a brief disconcert of the whole gay company; and, while the chimes of the clock yet rang, it was observed that the giddiest grew pale, and the more aged and sedate passed their hands over their brows as if in confused reverie or meditation."

On another note, I love it when people devote years to making something beautiful instead of using something quick, easy and boring. I dig this clock.
posted by DrumsIntheDeep at 10:45 PM on September 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Nit picky correction - the Corpus fellow in honest knave's pictures isn't the Master - it's the President of the Fellowship, Christopher Andrew. The joke sounds like him too.
posted by jb at 10:46 PM on September 19, 2008


Also, Taylor really is the most important inventor in the College's history - mostly for giving lots and lots of money which is mostly used for scholarships, including for graduate students who otherwise wouldn't be able to study.

And automatic kettles are awesome - for the grad students who get Taylor scholarships, it's a two-fer: a great scholarship, and the college is stocked with good kettles.
posted by jb at 10:50 PM on September 19, 2008


jb: thanks for the correction. And agreed about Taylor's contributions. But I do love a bit of inter-collegiate banter.
posted by honest knave at 11:56 PM on September 19, 2008


"Someone once told me that 'time' is a predator that stalks us all our lives. But I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived."

-Jean-Luc Picard

Also,

~I think this is what some of the detractors were groping towards with the quasi-racial insults (looks like Flava Flav designed it, looks like it's from the Philippines, etc).~



If I'm "quasi-racist" for noticing that Flavor Flav wears a big ugly clock around his neck, and that there are some CHINTZY ASS TAXI CABS IN THE PHILLIPINES, then somebody please shoot me in the face.

"Groping".

HA.
posted by chronkite at 9:07 AM on September 20, 2008


I approve of this clock.

I love the exterior ring moving the next inner one, etc. There other examples of such a clock mechanism?
posted by mrzarquon at 3:52 PM on September 20, 2008


Wow, we really go off on people who have differing opinions on art pieces around here, don't we.
posted by tehloki at 10:28 PM on September 20, 2008


p.s. it's 2:52 now
posted by chronkite at 9:53 PM on September 19


You are incorrect.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:53 PM on September 21, 2008


I just saw this over at Slashdot. I am humbled and awed by this clock. It's a work of mischievous brilliance.
posted by malaprohibita at 3:59 PM on September 21, 2008


Clockwork Fetus
posted by homunculus at 9:59 AM on October 7, 2008


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