2011/10/08 § 2 Comments

When I was in Cambridge
I visited the most disturbing and fascinating sculpture I have ever seen or heard of.  The Corpus Clock is a big clock located next to the King’s Parade, made by John Taylor and unveiled by Stephen Hawking in 2008.

The clock has a 1,5 meter, gold plated disc as its face, but unlike on other clocks, the face has no numbers and no hands, but rather blue LED lights who display time by blinking in three circles; hours, minutes and seconds. The most fascinating thing about the clock, however, is not the face but what walks on top of it; a Chronophage. A Chronophage is a time eater, and this particular one looks like a mix between a deep water fish and a beetle. It walks on top of the face, turning time and eating every second, every minute, every hour of the day. The Chronophage moves its mouth, it blinks, its tail wags. It’s a magnificent and terrifying creature, and it’s supposed to be. It’s eating up your life and there is no stopping it.

“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.”

When the clock strikes full, the sound of a chain hitting the bottom of a coffin can be heard, underlining the reality of Death, and below the clock the title of this post is inscribed, meaning “the world passeth away and the lust thereof”. Another wonderfully brilliant thing is the fact that the Corpus clock is as a matter of fact only accurate every now and then. The pendulum goes slower and faster and is not consistent, much like Time itself, which for us seems to move faster or slower depending upon ourselves (you know, “time flies fast in good company and all that).


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