Take Aim at the Clock, Satin and cotton, 160x220cm, 2022

“Measurement is a mirror to society itself; it is a form of attention that reveals what we value in the world.” (James Vincent, Beyond Measure, 2022).

Our lives are lived to the eternal tick-tock of clock time. It carves up our days, dictating when we work, eat, and sleep; coercing our bodies into observing its rhythms. Like all forms of measurement, clock time creates its own reality. Clock time – the manner in which it is divided and the activities observed in relationship to it – can seem like an unquestionable truth. Take Aim at the Clock is a reminder of historical moments in which the hegemony of clock time has been challenged.

The idea of ‘taking aim at the clock’ stems from Walter Benjamin’s description of the start of the July Revolution (1830): “On the first evening of fighting it turned out that the clocks in the towers were being fired on simultaneously and independently from several places in Paris.” (Benjamin, On the Concept of History, 1942) Benjamin also quotes an eye witness account, in which revolutionaries: “as though irritated with time itself, fired at the dials in order to stop the day.”

Take Aim at the Clock also draws on other instances in which revolutionaries and workers have attacked clocks, such as; the English Calendar Riots (1752); the introduction of French Revolutionary Time, which used the decimal system ​(1793); and the shooting of the Crawford Market clock by protestors in Bombay (1898).