Silent Agitator Wall Clock

‘Silent Agitator (Wall Clock)’ follows the monumental ‘Silent Agitator’ clock exhibited at West 24th Street in New York, as part of the High Line public art programme between April 2019 and March 2020 and Sculpture in the City, London from May 2021 and April 2022.

Silent Agitator (Wall Clock), 2020
Engraved traffolyte, quartz clock mechanism, hand painted aluminium
30cm diameter x 3.5 cm, edition of 20

The clock is based upon a detail of an illustration produced by Ralph Chaplin in 1917 for the Industrial Workers of the World trades union (the IWW). Chaplin’s illustration, bearing the inscription ‘What time is it? Time to organize!’, was reproduced on millions of gummed stickers, known as ‘silent agitators’, that were distributed by union members in workplaces and public spaces across the US. The clock hands bear workers’ clogs or, in French, sabots from which the word sabotage is derived (sabotage was originally used in English to specifically mean disruption instigated by workers). Clocks are a ubiquitous symbol within industrial disputes as hourly wages and the extent of working hours are often the source of argument.

The hands of ‘Silent Agitator (Wall Clock)’ are hand-painted (following Ralph Chaplin’s original design) onto laser-cut aluminium.
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