Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Metronome

The Metronome

By Kristen Jones & Andrew Ginzel

I've heard varying explanations of the digital numbers/wall sculpture of hand and smoke that is located at One Union Square South. My two favorites are: the numbers are the deficit debt of the country, and, it's the death rate of those who die due to smoking, hence the smoke.

Wells, I've grown weary of simply going along with that. So, I started to ask around.

The first person I spoke with was the security guard at Nordstrom who said, "It's the deficit debt of our country." I thought fine with me if you wanna keep believing that ball of yarn.

Then I spoke with Mike this guy on the street who was attempting to sell me something. I asked what he thought the smoke meant. His response: "I think it's Harry Potter, you know cuz of the smoke, and that looks like a wand." And I've gotta say, I loved that response! But something told me the wall sculpture was not connected to Harry Potter.

Then I spoke with the Duane Reade manager. His conclusion was that, "Sony had probably left it there....Maybe it had something to do with a movie?" Okay, I thought, that isn't entirely unreasonable? But, he was sure of one thing. The digital numbers out front are a representation of time.

Attention: We need to stop complicating our lives like this. Stop buying large pieces of furniture so you can store and view plates that you're never going to use. I apologize. This is unrelated. ....If you wanna collect something buy a bookshelf, cuz plates go on the table! Okay, I'm stopping.

The last stop was the building management office, where I most likely should have started. Actually, no I did this for the experience, I could have googled this information...  At the management office I learned that the digital clock and the artwall are a combined effort to have the public think about time, to have us think about how it's larger than us, and how we should probably be taking in every moment we can.

When I say time, I mean the time that is told according to the movements of the moon in relation to the earth. (So, please don't go there to set your watch.) The hand that is out there is George Washington's hand that was casted from his statue across the way at Union Square Park, and the smoke is supposed to symbolize the subway smoke, as well as smoke from inside of the earth. (I know that part sounds like a stretch, but it's written in this beautiful press release package that I got from the building's  --in case anyone asks this -- folder.)

The installation was officially inaugurated on October 21, 1999. (Right before the millennium. Ah haa.) Regardless of size, I guess eleven years can erase the meanings of some things. It may be time to put a plaque out there, no?


  1. So that's what they did with the Virgin store?

  2. Heeey Jane, its Gabi !!
    I promised you about checking your blog..
    I loved it !! really well done !
    see you :)

  3. lol..Yips, it's a Duane Reade, way cooler right?

    Gabi! Thanks Love:) I'm contacting you when I get to Rio!!