Wayward Clock Faces - Delinquent Time Pieces Out of the Box Clocks are creations of Ken Wilkinson
started out as a whimsical mental exercise turned into an extended exploration
into clocks and clockness. Initially I was interested in the quality expressed
by obscured clock hands and how that changed the feel of a clock. But that
quickly gave way to a free-for-all of ideas and experiments with new and
different ways to look at clocks. What if the hands are separated? What about
12 clocks together, each with a totally different time and only one is right? I
liked putting clocks in unusual settings. A clock in a box, clocks in heads, a
clock in a book’s hidden compartment, a clock with a pendulum to the side of
the clock. I enjoy the way three clocks in a row give you a constantly changing
design as well as a little mystery; which is the right time or which do I
choose? Similarly, a clock with four minute hands and four hour hands
symmetrically placed creates a pleasing flowing pattern as time progresses.
After making clocks for a while, I became interested
in writing fiction about clocks as a way of exploring further my ideas around
clocks. This freed me from the constraints of reality. A story evolved
involving a boy wandering through a world where clocks and the way people told
time were very different from the world he came from. In one community the
clocks give the color of the time. So midnight is violet and noon is yellow. In
another community time is told by music. He meets a clock maker experimenting
with tactile clocks (think slime) and scent based clocks (pine needles, cut
grass and flowers). In another community the residents refer to time based on
famous stories or walks. 7:35 is “when Edward escapes from the basement” or
“crossing the footbridge over Cedar Creek”. In Decatopia they vote on a new
time system every year. Last year it was 7 based. And so it went.
Many of the ideas were totally fantastical. Some
could be created but were far beyond my abilities. One idea intrigued me. In
the story one clockmaker created graphic clocks that were rendered on a computer
screen. I so liked the idea that I created a number of graphic clocks designs.
Then my brother, an ace programmer, offered to program some for me and we
created an Android phone app with 10 of the graphic clocks. These can be seen
on this website and downloaded free from the Google Play store.
Another idea from the story was
that of video clocks. Like graphic clocks they are another form of screen-based
clock but with much greater possibilities. In 2016 I setup a makeshift video
clock using a video playlist. The next year my brother wrote a program to run a
video clock based on hour long videos. This was followed by me creating a
database that runs a video clock based on one-minute granularity. I ran that
clock on a shelf in my office for several years as I added minutes to it.
In 2018 I decided that the best
way to make screen-based clocks broadly available was to run them on a website
on the internet. Initially I had a failed attempt to get a graphic clocks
website developed. Then in 2019 I was able to get a website developed that runs
video clocks. This is at TheVideoClock.com. The pandemic has limited some of
what I can do but I have continued to add minutes to the video clock playlists.
I find the idea of screen-based
clocks intriguing. It’s a whole world of clocks that, with a few exceptions,
hasn’t been explored at all. Poking around in this world has been fascinating.
My perspective is constantly evolving as I imagine, create and live with these
clocks. Now at the end of 2020 I look forward to what new ideas I will come up
with in the coming year.
I am a retired database developer. In the
"Art" world I have worked with a variety of media over the years.
These include etching, batik, painting, multiple media collage, photography and
Photoshop. My approach usually leans to the unconventional. Originally from
Ithaca New York, I am an East Coast transplant now with more than 30 years in
the Bay Area.