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A Surreal Clock Pays Tribute To Filmmaking’s Foundations

Pentagram partner Daniel Weil has completed his fifth and final piece in his “Matter of Time” series, a small collection of one-of-a-kind clocks designed for a bevy of illustrious clients, including an architect, a gymnast, a card player, and an astronomer. For his last installment, he drew inspiration from the frame-by-frame construction of 35-millimeter film for–you guessed it–a filmmaker.

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For Weil, film lends itself naturally to notions of time. Per Pentagram: “It records time and needs time, with a chemical process revealing the image on the negative, gratification rewarded,” he says. The designer modeled the armature, a six-foot ladder that supports a film-reel-like clock face, on physical film, a technology that, much like clocks, is growing increasingly obsolete. Nevertheless, Weil pays homage to the revolutionary medium that allowed us to record the modern age. “Time is action: When captured in film it can be slowed down frame by frame.”

Even the stainless-steel forks–which act like sprockets inside a camera to feed the movement with positively and negatively charged metal beads–have a connection to film: The pitch of their tines match the pitch of the perforations of the 35-millimeter film.

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