Timekeeper Interactive

Timekeeper Interactive

C&G Partners, New York, New York, 2009


Timekeeper is an interactive installation created to accompany Garden of Stones, a living sculpture by Andy Goldsworthy at the Museum of Jewish Heritage–A Living Memorial to the Holocaust in New York City. Garden is a unique sculpture: part rock, part living wood. Trees grow against all odds from giant stones, an appropriate metaphor for the museum and the times we live in. Timekeeper is installed alongside a window wall overlooking the garden and the harbor, inside the museum’s “Keeping History Center.” The project is based on the idea that Goldsworthy’s artistic medium is neither stone nor wood but time itself. Because it is alive, the sculpture evolves slowly but constantly. This can’t be seen all at once, unless a visitor could somehow control time, and that is impossible—until now.

Timekeeper’s camera constantly takes high-resolution digital stills, which are fed in real time into a customized processing system. The stills are stitched together to become part of a growing, evolving stream of images under the interactive control of museum visitors. This is not a film at all; it is a constantly changing, unique visual that connects the past and present together in a single continuum.

Visitors can navigate days, weeks, months, seasons or years. Those who physically enter the garden will find themselves here later, kept inside Timekeeper. As time goes on, the system cleverly prunes frames to make the past easier to navigate. Visitors who choose to dial back to the beginning can watch clips of the artwork being created and installed. Timekeeper will stay in place permanently, witnessing and recording the passing of time, rain or shine, winter or summer, day or night.

Juror Notes

An amazingly innovative, poetic example of experience design. For me, the most compelling of this year’s entries. The physical becomes the virtual. The past becomes the present. A beautiful experience design.

Collections: AIGA 365: 31 (2010)
Repository: Denver Art Museum
Discipline: Information design
Format: Exhibit