Monday, October 17, 2011

Time for Art: Patrick Bernatchez exhibits 1000-year Wristwatch in Montreal

Why do I need Dave Dyment's A Drink to Us When We're Both Dead—that is, a bottle of 100-year-aged scotch to be released in 2018—to remind me of my own mortality when Patrick Bernatchez's BW Project—a wristwatch that makes one revolution every thousand years—is about to debut in Montreal at Galerie de l'UQAM?

Here's an excerpt from Bernatchez's website about the project:

BW consists of a wristwatch with a mechanism and form that have been created entirely from scratch. This object, which appears to be quite simple at first glance, proposes a different reading of time and immerses one in a more abstract measurement scale. The BW display is made up of a single hand that will take a thousand years to complete a full revolution....

The BW (BlackWatch) was designed and crafted in collaboration with Roman Winiger a renowned Swiss watchmaker. The works title BW is an initialized form of the watch itself and the respective surname initials of the artist and watchmaker.

You know what is dumb about my reaction to projects like this? There's always some nitpicking part of me that goes "Um, well, how are we sure it's going to actually happen? How will we know the watch won't break down or something?"

With Dyment's project, the 100-year timeline makes me think it's a little more plausible to execute. With a 1000-year timeline like Bernatchez's my sense of pragmatism starts to fail. But I guess that's probably the point! There's part of me that (incorrectly) thinks I can plausibly look 100 years into the future. 1000 years, not so much. Good luck, little watch!

Read on here for more info about Bernatchez's project and here for more info about his Montreal show, opening this Friday.

(Video of Bernatchez's watch from his website)

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