Standard Time

Controlling time obsesses us. However, the only thing we humans have been able to achieve has been a progressive precision in measuring it. First came the ancient systems of sun and sand, then the mechanical clock -which divided the day into hours, minutes and seconds- and now the atomic clock that provides the exact time through the international synchronization system, the so-called Standard Time. And so our lives are governed, subjected from dawn to dusk to this human invention.

This incredible performance, perfectly documented and filmed on video, shows a handmade clock that is constantly modified by 70 workers. They build a digital clock that tells the real time, minute by minute, quite accurately. A job that involved 1611 changes in a 24-hour period. However, this futile effort – the only purpose is to spend time to show how it runs – is too big for the man. Despite their stubbornness and sense of duty, it seems that the workers are constantly on the verge of failure, giving us an insight into the great difficulty of submitting to the rhythm of standardized time.

Standard Time is an artwork by Mark Formanek, realized by Datenstrudel in co-production with Bigfish GmbH.
With the support of Stiftung Kunstfonds & Filmstiftung NRW, Skulpturenpark Berlin

Mark Formanek

Pinneberg, Germany

He studied at the Art Academy in Münster, where he would later become a visiting professor, and at the Chelsea College of Arts and Design in London. He is a renowned conceptual artist who has exhibited individually in Germany and as a group at the Kochi-Muziris Biennial in Mumbai, the Montevideo Biennial and the Curitiba Biennial, as well as in many other places around the world.

His work is part of the collection of the Museum Abteiberg in Mönchengladbach.