Atomic clocks, first developed in 1949 in the United States, regulate universal time according to the resonance of atoms. The frequency of these fundamental particles, often of cesium or rubidium, creates a simple motion analogous to that of a sonic wave—a correlation that anticipates French artist Davide Balula’s coupling of sound and time. At the entrance to his exhibition “De la place pour le sable” (Room for Sand), Balula unhinges the standard measure of speed and duration by setting the hands of each of the twelve clocks in Les Humeurs, 2007, at dramatically different speeds. Launching a visually discordant composition, the arrangement of white-faced timepieces reflects a chorus of moods and pitches. Similarly, Balula uses mechanisms inside two shiny black porcelain globes, Variable Time Peninsula and Atomic Clock Peninsula, both 2007, to recompose the tempo of digital clocks. As
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