Tatsuo Miyajima: Running Time / Clear Zero
1 February - 5 March 1995
Photograph by Cindy Palmano
Queen's House, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich Park, London
Since the 17th century when Charles II built the first Royal Observatory there, Greenwich has enjoyed a reputation throughout the world as a centre of time. The Meridian Line slices through the Observatory, runs past the Queen's House and over the River Thames. It divides the Eastern and Western hemispheres and marks the point where the modern measure of time was born.
Leading Japanese artist Tatsuo Miyajima realised his installation Running Time as a resonse to the time and place of Greenwich and the rational architecture of the Queen's House, the first classical building in England built in Greenwich to the designs of Inigo Jones in the early 17th century.
Presenting a new prototype in Britain for the first time, Miyajima transformed the Great Hall of the Queen's House into a moving tableau of time. Electronic counters glided through the darkened interior. Like a vast picture of the cosmos at night - or a microcosm of atoms in constant movement - Miyajima's Running Time created a choreography of chance within the perfect cube of the Queen's House, a silent and sublime picture of time.
Miyajima's performance piece Clear Zero, was also conceived for the Queen's House. The electronic counters were gradually exchanged for human beings walking in random patterns and counting in over 40 different languages. As more people entered the room, the sound intensified into a chaos of counting and then subsided as the performers vacated the space.