08 February 2013

Student's interactive LEGO clock finds fame

Postgraduate student Alexander Allmont, who is in his second year of a part-time MPhil/PhD degree, has a new permanent installation at the Mechanical Art and Design Museum in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Alexander Allmont's LEGO clock

The interactive LEGO clock, which is rewound by the audience at the push of a button, runs entirely from gravity. The seconds and minutes are counted as a weight falls to the ground. Alex cites the inspiration behind his installation as a “desire to share moments of realisation/attention, where complexity melts away into something more tangible as the workings become apparent”. He chose to use a clock as it is a complex machine, but is also every-day and accessible. The toy medium of LEGO was chosen because it’s familiarity provides an invitation to interact and play with it.

The installation is a redesign of a clock that Alex developed during his MA in Contemporary Art and Music at Oxford Brookes which was displayed at Kinetica 2012. It was there that he met the Mechanical Art and Design Museum team, and they discussed a permanent custom-built wall-mounted installation.

Alex commented, “It feels great to have an installation at the Mechanical Art and Design museum. I worked with them to ensure everything felt right, and within minutes of the install a boy sat down and watched it mesmerised. It’s very satisfying to see people get lost in something like this”.

Alex is currently working on three pieces which will be displayed at Kinetica 2013 in London at the end of February. These pieces include a personal copy of the clock, a polyrhythmic cymbal-playing machine, and a wall-mounted machine that manipulates a synthesiser and guitar pedals to generate a shifting musical piece. He is also developing a workshop with the Music Hackspace in London to build collaborative rhythmic performances; which relates to his research into tipping points in perception particularly when interacting with rhythm.