Union Square South, New York City
The Related Companies with participation of
The Public Art Fund and The Municipal Art Society
Central panel: 98 x 50 feet (29.8 x 15.2 m.)
Overall: 98 x 200 feet (29.8 x 60.9 m.)
Brick, Steel, Aluminum, Bronze, L.E.D. Numeric Display, Steam, Incandescent light, Gold.
A. The Infinity (Aperture in wall)
Aperture Spun aluminum hemisphere 5 feet (152 cm.) in diameter
Steam Twin 15 h.p. gas fired boilers
Light Three incandescent lights
B. The Source (Gold overlay)
Material 23.75 karat gold leaf over oil based size over yellow base coating
Surface Area 1500 square feet (139.3 sq. m.)
C. The Vortex (Undulating brick façade)
Dimension 98′-11″ (30.15 m.) x 52′-8 1/4 ” (16.06 m.)
Weight 392 tons (356,364 kg.)
Surface Area 6700 square feet (622.4 sq. m.)
Bricks 3 shapes of brick are used (curved, flat, angled soldier)
452 brick courses, 52,000 bricks are used
Panels 29 panels, each with a weight of 6 to 19 tons per panel
Brick with steel reinforced concrete
Wave 36 unique profiles
Pattern Due to the unique length of each course, and shape of wave profile,
bricks are trimmed to difference length from 3 7/8″ to 8″ (9.84 to 20.3 cm.),
width from 1 3/4″ to 2 13/16″ (4.44 to 6.83 cm.) in varied pattern to form the panel face.
Installation Minimum 6 connections per panel.
All connections are accessed from behind
an existing reinforced block wall through 144 penetrations in building wall.
D. The Focus (Tapered cone)
Dimension 67 feet (20.4 m.) long, 18 inches (45.7 cm.) in diameter at lower end
E. The Relic (Hand)
Dimension ± 6 feet x 3 feet (182.8 x 91.4 cm.) overall
Weight 900 pounds (409 kg.)
Material Patinated bronze
F. The Matter (Rock)
Dimension 25 feet (7.62 m.) high x 16 (4.88 m.) feet wide
Material Concrete reinforced with fiberglass cast from actual rock face
Reinforced with a stainless steel structure
G. The Passage (L.E.D. Clock)
Dimension Each numeral 54.5 x 43.4 inches (138.4 x 110.2 cm.);
total 62 (18.9 m.) feet long
Material 76,800 light emitting diodes in fifteen panels behind clear glass curtain wall
H. The Phases (Moon)
Dimension The sphere is five feet in diameter
Material Spun aluminum with stainless steel shaft
Surface 50% black enamel, 50% 23.75 karat gold
Mechanism Stepper motor moving sphere one revolution every lunar month
Rotation: 7 percent of 360 degrees twice a day
Light Twin PAR-38 spots (one burns at a time) in each of three enclosures
Mechanism Belt drive rotation
Computer Apple Macintosh G3
Software Max Opcode; MSP Cycling 74
Speakers Four Meyers Sound UPA-2P
One Meyers Sound Custom Horn
Metronome is an investigation into the nature of time. The work references the multiple measures of time that simultaneously inform and confound our consciousness of the moment. The composite work intends to evoke contemplation on the dynamic flux of the city. The elements suggest the instant and infinity, astronomical sequence, geological epoch and ephemerality. Metronome is meant to be integral to the very history, architectural fabric, spirit and vitality of the city.
The elements that compose Metronome refer to and are very much a part of the place where the work exists: Union Square in the City of New York.
The central element is a brick wall built in concentric circles, creating a wave pattern like ripples on still water after a stone is cast into it, making the wall seem to undulate. Gold leaf accentuates the center of the work, a dark aperture that emanates a constant halo of steam. At noon and midnight the hole erupts with a huge plume of steam that is accompanied by an explosion of sound composed to mark the exact instant and its passage, like a noonday whistle or a public clock that marks the time.
Counterpoised below on the wall is a massive piece of bedrock, displaying the millennia of geological history. A long thin bronze cone is poised at a diagonal on the rippling brick façade: a time indicator that suggests perspective.
A large bronze hand poised high on the wall is an accurate enlargement taken from the historical statue of George Washington in Union Square Park directly below.
Left of the vertical brick center, on the glass façade of the building is a horizontal clock with pairs of digits that accurately display the hours, minutes and seconds that have passed since midnight, as well as the time remaining in a 24-hour period. Like an hourglass that contains a specific measure of sand, the digital time piece counts up on the left and down on the right, measuring both the sum and the balance of the day. The center three digits are a frenzy of intangible fractions of seconds, which reveal the pace of life in the city.
On the right metallic façade is a sphere, half black and half gold, which turns daily in synchrony with the phases of the moon. When the moon reaches fullness, the entire golden face of the orb is revealed.
Metronome contemplates time: geological, solar, lunar, daily, hourly, and momentarily, revealing the fractions of seconds in the life of a city – and of a human being.
metronome 7 ’10”
ny1 news 3 ’01”