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The Thing Quarterly: Issue 20

An exclusive preview of Tauba Auerbach's conceptual wall-clock for the object-based periodical

by Nara Shin in Design on 17 September 2013

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San Francisco-based conceptual publication The Thing Quarterly commissions artists, writers and other creative types to create a useful everyday object that incorporates text, sending epistolary shower curtains, onion cutting boards and more to subscribers four times a year. For its 20th edition, The Thing Quarterly has teamed up with contemporary visual artist Tauba Auerbach and NY-based design studio Assembly to create a 24-hour wall-clock, for which CH has the exclusive.

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With a background as a traditional sign-painter, Auerbach has had a long fascination with typography and letters, making her an ideal artist for a collaboration with The Thing. A recurring theme in her work is overcoming limits to communication, representation and perception, whether it means conjuring a 3D reality through a 2D medium through her "Fold" series or alphabetizing the Bible. This time around (no pun intended), Auerbach explores her "very fraught relationship with time" by reconsidering the analog wall-clock.

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She explains her inspiration for this particular design, based on her personal collection of timepieces: "One of my favorite purchases is a clock that has a 24-hour movement. I've found this one particularly helpful because it forces me to stop and think for an extra second or two when I’m reading the time. The hand positions are not what I'm used to, and I can’t just glance at it and know what time it is. I have to think—to interact with time anew—and at a little bit of a distance when I look at this clock, not as a familiar, problematic relative that I engage with lazily."

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In order to "become friends with time," Auerbach created her own version of a 24-hour clock. With all 24 hours depicted on the face with unique golden numerals, the hands complete a full circle around the clock once a day, rather than twice a day—as with traditional 12-hour clocks. CH staff has always been fans of unconventional clocks like Scott Thrift's "The Present," and this one is no exception. Aside from the appealing design, this clock will cause many a double take and also serves as a daily reminder that passing moments should not be taken for granted. NY-based Assembly, founded in 2012, helped Auerbach design and manufacture the entire clock and packaging almost from scratch, all of which took place in the US.

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Keep a look out for Tauba Auerbach's "Two Wire" font on the packaging and the back of the clock. Pre-orders for Auerbach's wall-clock are available for $120 from The Thing Quarterly online. It will officially be released 19 September, but head to the New York Art Book Fair at PS1 this weekend for the Issue 20 launch event on Saturday, 21 September. Maintaining the theme of "time," the Brooklyn-based band Hubble (a project by solo guitarist Ben Greenberg) will play a time-based performance for 24 minutes from 3:15 P.M. to 3:51 P.M. followed by issue signings with Tauba Auerbach from 4:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Product images courtesy of Michael O'Neal, wrapping party images courtesy of Lenny Gonzalez for THE THING Quarterly

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