Clockwork is an installation by Julius von Bismarck and Julian Charrière that includes twelve concrete mixers, which are arranged in a circle in the centre of a large space. The mixing drums form a compound of “erosion-machines,” designed to accelerate the omnipresent process of decay of a particular city – including Vienna, Mexico City, and Sao Paolo as locations where the work has been presented so far. The rotation of the drums transforms architectural debris taken from various buildings such as angular bricks into round, organic forms. Over a long period of time and through continuous impact, the bricks are turned into pebbles and ultimately become powder. Inside the exhibition space this process is tangible through noise, clouds of dust, and vibration. In Clockwork von Bismarck and Charrière explore how the physical manifestations of past and future artificially interact with one another through the manipulation of humans.
By subverting the mixers’ original purpose and returning the bricks’ unnaturally constructed angles to rounded forms, the work reminds us materials’ natural-state by linking it with post-human condition. Fragments from various man-made constructions, stones taken from nature which had been formed into geometrical, primarily rectangular shapes by human action for the purpose of building architecture, were collected as the two artists mapped urban environments through their materiality. A city’s narrative is told through its rock and soil as they act simultaneously as a storage of natural and cultural history: from earth to brick and from brick to culture.