©Stephen White

©Stephen White

For the next three weeks, Conrad Shawcross’ Timepiece at the Roundhouse will transform the venue you might know from raucous evenings out into what feels like a sun-dappled darkness. However, it’s not one sun but three as the only light comes from the specially commissioned light installation hanging from the roof. Using the 24 existing columns as a gigantic clock face, the machine and the four-metre high gnomon below it act less like a sundial than a shadow dial. Shadows are everywhere, at times like rippling clouds, other times lengthening and contracting as the three arms on the machine move, each arm with a tiny ‘sun’ attached to it. At first it seems haphazard and chaotic but once you get used to it, you will be able to tell the time, according to Shawcross.

Conrad Shawcross with Timepiece ©Stuart Leech

Conrad Shawcross with Timepiece ©Stuart Leech

The relationships which at certain points form converted patterns of shafts of light mixing with ominous clouds made from the shadows cast by the machinery, makes you realize just how dynamic this installation is. Allow yourself time (oh, the irony!) to immerse yourself. Midday and midnight will be a moment of alignment and peace when all three articulated arms will point straight up, creating a brief moment of a singular shadow amidst the helter-skelter shadow play throughout the rest of the cycle.

The installation seeks to turn the ubiquitous and tyrannical clock back into the primeval celestial experience it once was.

Timepiece | Conrad Shawcross
Till 25th August 2013
Roundhouse
Chalk Farm Road
London NW1 8EH

Words by Anna Bang

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