The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Thomson & Craighead: Flipped Clock

BAM/PFA Online Exhibition
June 1, 2011 – August 31, 2011


Some of the most memorable artworks consist of a seemingly simple gesture: a urinal placed on a pedestal, a painting of the American flag. Flipped Clock, by the British artist duo Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead, is an online digital clock display in the standard format (hours:minutes:seconds) that is inverted vertically. It takes an image created to be a display (a clock face) and puts it on display. Inverting the numbers underscores this quotation and asks us to consider the artifice behind this taskmaster of modern life to whom we pay obeisance every minute of every day.


Flipped Clock recalls desktop clock displays, countless screen savers, online countdowns, and even the secret language of nerds who once greeted each other by holding their calculators upside down (07734). Being an Internet clock, Flipped Clock naturally tells the local time at your computer. But it is worth noting that Thomson and Craighead are based in London, home of the prime meridian, where every new day (and new year) is born. (London became the “center of time” at the height of the British Empire; enacting temporal as well as geophysical dominion.) In addition to invoking the pell-mell condition of modernity, Flipped Clock addresses the function of representation in social systems and standards of control.


Jon Thomson and Alison Craighead studied at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in Dundee, Scotland. Thomson now lectures part time at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London, while Craighead is a senior researcher at the University of Westminster and lecturer in Fine Art at Goldsmiths, University of London.


Richard Rinehart
Digital Media Director and Adjunct Curator


Online Exhibition

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