100629 Chronophage tests 008 The 2nd Chronophage (time eater) from craftsman John Taylor. The clock's face is a rippling 24-carat gold-plated stainless steel disc, about 1.5 metres in diameter, 29 June 2010.
The 2nd Chronophage (time eater) from craftsman John Taylor.The clock's face is a rippling 24-carat gold-plated stainless steel disc, about 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) in diameter. It has no hands or numbers, but displays the time by opening individual slits in the clock face backlit with blue LEDs these slits are arranged in three concentric rings displaying hours, minutes, and seconds.The dominating visual feature of the clock is a sculpture of a grim-looking, devouring, metal insect similar to a grasshopper or locust. The sculpture is actually the clock's escapement (see below). Taylor calls this beast the Chronophage (literally "time eater", from the Greek œáœÅœåŒΩŒøœÇ [chronos] time, and œÜŒ¨Œ≥œâ [phago] I eat). It moves its mouth, appearing to "eat up" the seconds as they pass, and occasionally it "blinks" in seeming satisfaction. The creature's constant motion produces an eerie grinding sound that suits its task. The hour is tolled by the sound of a chain clanking into a small wooden coffin hidden in the back of the clock.Below the clock is an inscription from the Vulgate 1 John 2:17: mundus transit et concupiscentia eius ("the world passeth away, and the lust thereof").The clock is entirely accurate only once every five minutes. The rest of the time, the pendulum may seem to catch or stop, and the lights may lag or, then, race to get ahead. According to Taylor, this erratic motion reflects life's "irregularity".Conceived as a work of public art, the Chronophage reminds viewers in a dramatic way of the inevitable passing of time. Taylor deliberately designed it to be "terrifying": "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." Others have described it as "hypnotically beautiful and deeply disturbing".