[ISEA96] Artist Statement: Allan Giddy – Clock and Hours Remaining in the Life of Allan Giddy

Artist Statement

Both pieces are provoked by Rudolph Steiner’s questionable statement,”everything in the universe is made from light”. I hypothesised that if everything was indeed made of light it would therefore be deconstructed by light’s incessive bombardment, and that the time that this deconstruction would take, for any given mass and light intensity, could be calculated. With this in mind I constructed a device capable of ‘evaporating’ a round of wood. After consulting physics Professor, John Smith of the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, I came to realize that this deconstruction did in fact take place with many materials.

CLOCK (1992)

Materials: aluminium, stainless steel, electrics, wood. Dimensions: 34 x 24 x 12 cm approx

“CLOCK” was the first work to deal with this theme (light as both giver and taker of life). In this work the gradual disintegration of a wooden dome bombarded with light becomes the marker of passing time. I created a plaque reading ‘This light when activated will completely dissipate the round of wood within 370 years’, and attached it to the front of the ‘Clock’.

Review: Janne Koski, ‘Aurinko – Sun: Solar Art at the Rauma Art Museum, Finland’, Leonardo, Vol 2/98, Boston: MIT Press, pp. 81-86


Construction: Electronic components, LCD’s, solar panels, pillow, chair, light bulb, broken light bulb. Size: 50cm + 50cm + 100cm

This work is the second I have constructed to deal with this (light-based) theme.lt is a digital construction. “Die verbleibende Stunden im Leben des Allan Giddy” is a backwards counting machine. I calculated how many hours I would have left to live based on the average for a New Zealand male born in the 1960’s, this I then programmed into my small machine and set it running. I took care, allowing the machine to retain memory (using capacitance) during “night-sleep” periods when the display disappears while the “machine” counts more slowly. Somewhat more theoretical than “CLOCK”, this piece, while counting the hours remaining until my presumed demise, is in fact an autonomous agent, freed from its maker while contracting its rhythms and pace towards demise from its independent reaction to the light around it.

  • New Zealand-born sculptor Allan Giddy lives and works in Sydney, Australia. Allan’s pioneering use of alternative energy systems and light in ‘time-based sculpture’ began in 1992. Over time his practice has expanded into the public domain, specifically public sited ‘active sculpture’ aimed at the reinvigoration of public spaces. He is one of Australia’s foremost proponents of sustainable energy systems, electronic interconnectivity and interactivity embedded in the physical art object.  allangiddy.org