July 17, 2024


Art Is Experience

Artist envisions clock based on how Georgia rivers flow

ATLANTA – Visualize a town clock that displays not the minutes and seconds that govern our life, but time that moves more quickly or slower based mostly on how fast rivers are working.

The Chattahoochee River and its tributaries stream via metropolitan Atlanta, but they hardly sign-up for most people in the metropolis — a disconnect that dismays Jonathon Keats. The San Francisco-primarily based conceptual artist is on an prolonged keep in Ga, in which he’s been devising methods of encouraging individuals to interact extra with their organic environment.

His latest strategy, “Atlanta River Time,” would enlist volunteers to go down to riverbanks and consider measurements. Their collective effort and hard work, supported by conservation teams and U.S. Geological Survey data, would inform time in an completely distinctive way, shown on a massive municipal clock in downtown Atlanta that demonstrates the normal ebbs and flows of Georgia’s waterways.

“Ideally, men and women will get into the h2o … to notice and to contemplate the outcomes of the move of h2o on the entire world as effectively as the leads to of that circulation,” Keats informed The Involved Press. “As a way in which not only to reckon time, but to reckon how we are living in the environment.”


Keats has led workshops since the drop of 2021 to train people how to use hand-built materials to chronicle move fees. Now he is hoping to bring the river clock from believed experiment into fact.

“I’m envisioning a clock that is run by a mechanical program, run on a pendulum the place there is an annual pilgrimage to the headwaters of the Chattahoochee and wherever a measurement is designed by hand,” Keats explained. “The stream fee is introduced back again to Atlanta, possibly (to) a clock which is located in a standalone clock tower in Midtown, and the pendulum is physically adjusted on the foundation of what is measured at the headwaters.”

Why use waterways, when we have clocks, good telephones, desktops and watches frequently telling us the time presently?

Keats claims he would not use a cellular mobile phone, but he is imagined a lot about this sort of inquiries though tromping alongside Georgia’s purple-clay riverbanks in boots and a corduroy jacket, wearing wispy blond hair down to his shoulders and spectacles that may possibly have come from the 18th century.


“All of this is a tale that we can tell, and a tale, like a stream, is a conduit, and is a conduit that lets us to that have itself by a set of situations, and lets us to replicate on ourselves as a result of that of that path that we acquire,” Keats reported.

The artist’s preceding conceptual challenges provided advertising tracts of real estate in the theoretical excess proportions of space-time, opening a photosynthetic cafe that serves connoisseur daylight to vegetation, and mounting a “millennium camera” in a steeple at Amherst University that he explained would chronicle climate improve by means of a 1,000-12 months exposure of a mountain variety. Keats positioned very similar cameras at Lake Tahoe and Arizona Condition College.

Keats was invited to be the Artist in Home at Serenbe, an exceptional improvement in Chattahoochee Hills just outside the house Atlanta, exactly where among workshops, he’s ready to ponder the prospects of h2o-dependent time from the deck of a rough-hewn cabin. His contributors lately built bowls of clay and sewed log guides of development paper with colored yarn. Then they all trekked to South Fork Peachtree Creek and watched leaves float downstream when water ran through holes in their bowls.


It is a rudimentary way to measure flow rates, but Keats hopes it will persuade distinct views on how humans interact with nature.

“I consider that the rivers and streams and creeks in and close to Atlanta are a all-natural resource that will help us to see ourselves in relation to the organic globe a lot more broadly,” he claimed.

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