Why Is the Face of This Clock in Central Park Rotating Backwards?

Posted On Fri, December 18, 2015 By

Posted On Fri, December 18, 2015 By In Art, Midtown East

GIF created from a video by Scott Beale for Laughing Squid

At first glance, it looks like an ordinary 19th century street clock, but when you notice its movement, things get a little weird. Located at Central Park’s Doris C. Freedman Plaza, the clock’s face rotates backwards, while the second hand appears to remain upright and stationary at all times (h/t Laughing Squid). What’ll really throw you for a loop is that the clock is displaying the correct time, but because of how accustomed we are to the regular rotation, it’s almost impossible to read.

Titled “Against the Run,” the clock was created by Alicja Kwade for the Public Art Fund. The Polish-born, Berlin-based artist wanted to challenge “the systems we invent to make sense of our lives,” thereby forcing us to “see ‘reality’ from a new perspective.”

backwards clock, public art NYC, Alicja Kwade, Against the Run, Public Art Fund

backwards clock, public art NYC, Alicja Kwade, Against the Run, Public Art Fund
Photos via Jason Wyche; courtesy of Alicja Kwade, Konig Gallerie, and 303 Gallery. 

Public Art Fund director Nicholas Baume told artnet News: “We find it very hard to process that information if it’s given to us differently. We expect it to behave in a certain way, and when it doesn’t it’s kind of more confusing than it should be, simply because we’re perceptually and conceptually bound by conventions. What Kwade’s work does is break a lot of the systems that govern our lives and are quite arbitrary.”

“Against the Run” will be on view through Febraury 14, 2016. Learn more about the exhibition here.

[Via Laughing Squid]

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