The most accurate clock in New York City, this sculpture occupies the entire façade of the Virgin Record Store located in Union Square. Conceived by artists Kristen Jones and Andrew Ginzel, the timepiece is intended to freeze a moment in time.
A row of five-foot-tall LEDs displays time in a unique manner, showing the time that has passed in the day, as well the time remaining. For example 12:00 noon is displayed as 120000000012. The center digits blur as they count 10ths of seconds; as the digits increase on the left, they decrease on the right.
An eight-foot sphere actuated by a stepper motor is synchronized to the lunar calendar, accurately displaying the phases of the moon.
Audio effects are synchronized with steam valves at the top of the sculpture that release gentle puffs on the hour. A 40-foot jet shoots forth at noon and midnight. Lighting effects occur at dusk.
The entire automation of the individual subsystems is performed by an Alcorn McBride V4+ Show controller. THe V4+ is linked to a PC which runs a GUI that provides a log which can be monitored in real time, and allows for manual operation.
The V4+ is also responsible for synchronizing the timing of the subsystems. It receives its timing reference from the atomic clock at the US Navel Observatory in Washington DC. The V4+ then locks the entire system to SMPTE Time Code.
The audio sound effects are played back from an Alcorn AM-3 Digital Audio Machine. The V4+ communicates to Lutron Lighting System and runs an astronomical clock program so the system knows when dusk and dawn occurs for the next 27 years. The V4+ also communicates to the stepper motor operating the Moon Phase Clock, providing pulses that cause the sphere to rotate as the phases of the moon advance through the calendar year. Finally, the V4+ also operates an Allen Bradley PLC that fires the pneumatic steam valves.
The installation was performed by Videosonic, a design and installation firm located in New York and headed by Glenn Polly.