A NEW ART PROJECT

"Rock Around the Clock"
Well, this one took me nearly six months. It is most likely because I am a perfectionist or perhaps I am just exploring some bizarre part of me that takes some time to unfold.

Before you look at the pictures below a little history.  My last two "art projects" were somewhat random in the sense that they had themes, but were really just technology pieces stuck here and there in a loose sense of order.  This one is different.  I started with a blank canvas, an assortment of clock mechanisms (thanks to Bob, my expert scrounger who shows up with all sorts of fun toys); records (45s, 78s, and some interesting older records); a bunch of circuit boards, switches, diodes, condensers, wires, and other "old" technologies that I had scavenged from the tech graveyard at my university; and an idea.  Six months later, that idea ended up on my wall as a two foot by three foot canvas entitled "Rock Around the Clock" (thanks to Vicki for the brilliant title).  It has six clocks, each embedded in either a record or some computer storage vehicle (CD ROM, floppy disks - ranging in size from 8" down to 3.5", zip disks, and other interesting stuff).  The canvas itself has a myriad of switches, relays, and wires, all connected across the canvas front as well as up and down the sides, top, and bottom, that appear to power the clocks and some speakers.  In reality, nothing controls nothing.  Maybe next time I will venture down that road but I wanted to create a sense of control where there is none. 

So, below is a large photo of Rock Around the Clock. I will try to describe it for you in general and then there are lots of  shots of parts of the canvas.  First of all, there are six embedded clocks, each with different color hands and each with the wrong time (well, I guess that is relative, isn't it?).  Here's some stuff to look for:

1.  At the top left you can see Big Brother and the Holding Company's second album titled "Cheap Thrills" which featured a new, young singer named Janis Joplin.  Amazing album and a very difficult cover to work with.  No color clock hands worked until I decided to spray them with gold paint and add gold and red glitter.

2.  At the top right is the cover for the 45 single of the Rolling Stones' Angie with the now familiar tongue  logo. I have properly defaced the cover by embedding a speaker inside the mouth which appears to be powered by wires emanating from just about everywhere.  Of course, it is powered by nothing!

3.  Below Angie is Chubby Checker's "The Twist" mounted on top of a 78 rpm of something or other with an embedded clock with blue hands.

4.  Directly below Cheap Thrills is a clock that is a mass of old technology.  The face is an 8" floppy with a series of smaller and smaller storage devices ending with a zip disk and white clock hands.  Spreading from the middle, where the numbers should be, are a variety of things including condensers, diodes, vacuum tubes and very large memory chips.

5. To its right is a clock face but no moving parts (who knows why I did this. It just seemed interesting and contradictory).

6.  The last three clocks are embedded in three records at the bottom of the canvas.  On the left is the 45 rpm record of "This Magic Moment" by the Drifters (with an Elvis 78 insert behind it) and red hands.  In the middle is an amazing record called "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" by Clyde McCoy with silver clock hands.  This record actually has a picture of New Orleans embedded in the vinyl with its interesting wrought iron gates and architecture.  Unlike the other stuff that I scrounged, this one I actually paid $20 for and when I went back to buy another of these interesting record albums the rest were gone. Sigh ....   Finally, on the right is the final clock, "Never My Love" by the Association (my favorite group in the 60s).  Below that is the 45 of "School is Out" by Gary U.S. Bonds (wasn't his a clever name? Does anyone remember U.S. Savings Bonds?) without a clock but with one of those yellow plastic adapters that you used to play 45s on a 78 rpm player.  If you recall those then you are OLD!  At the bottom there are a couple of small photos of Fats Domino and Ricky Nelson and a pictorial list of Elvis' 45 rpm records.

7.  All around the outside edges and the bottom are wires and pieces of technology, all hooked together by alligator clips or some other form of connectors.  Up one side and down the other, they run from place to place actually going nowhere and doing nothing.  But, they were fun to put together and they do look interesting ... at least to me!

So, now I am ready to start on #4.  My canvas is stretched and I have boxes and boxes of miscellaneous parts and record albums and just plain junk.  Let's see what happens.  Check back in a few months (if you dare or even care).



Here is a close-up of the "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans" record/clock.  The picture of the New Orleans wrought iron gates are actually emblazoned in the plastic of the record.  To the right you can see a better picture of the front and back of this piece of art.  Each side had a separate song and a separate illustration.  According to Voguepicturerecords.org:<>

Vogue picture records are phonograph records on the "Vogue" label which have a picture (an artist's illustration) embedded in the transparent vinyl of the record. The illustrations on each side of the record are usually related to the title of the song on that side. The most common Vogue picture records are 10-inch, 78 RPM records, although a few 12-inch, 78 RPM Vogue picture records were also produced by Sav-Way Industries of Detroit, Michigan. The first 10-inch Vogue picture record was released to the public in May 1946. Production ceased less than a year later in April 1947, with Sav-Way entering into receivership in August 1947. During this time, approximately seventy-four different 10-inch Vogue picture records were released.

Here are better pictures of both sides from the website.




At the bottom left is a record jacket from Elvis with a 45 rpm of the The Drifters "This Magic Moment."  If you want to see the Drifters put on a great show with The Platters and The Coasters, they are always at the Sahara in Vegas.  Each group is outfitted in their own "colors" ranging from red to yellow to white, lterally from top to bottom (even their shows are the same color as their outfits).  If you want to see a 60 second clip go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8bwiYkrW_c

Note that there is a small switch at the bottom left of the canvas with a red light above it. The switch is embedded in the canvas and clicks on and off (and does nothing, of course - perhaps next time I will make it light up the red light!)



Here is the top left corner with the Cheap Thrills album (you can't really see the sparkly clock hands unless you look really carefully).  This is the album that featured Janis Joplin doing "Piece of My Heart" perhaps one of the best woman-singer songs ever in my humble opinion.  Watch her at Woodstock and see if you don't agree: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tw-TR2tN9Mk&feature=related
Just below it is the conglomeration of disks starting at an ancient 8" floppy and then a platter from some old disk drive, and then a CD-ROM and finally, a zip disk.  The spokes going out all are electronic components with old, very large memory chips and vacuum tubes at their ends.


Sorry this picture is fuzzy but it was the best that I could do to show you the yellow insert in the Gary U.S. Bonds record (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG3xrWpeNGU) and the Ricky Nelson and Fats Domino pictures cut off of two old album inserts.  Below all of that is a listing of Elvis Presley hit 45s some of which you can see more clearly to the right.


Need I say more?  He was the KING OF ROCK AND ROLL!


Just above the Elvis album insert at the bottom left is an embedded speaker with an assortment of connections going to it and from it to the disk clock.


Here's the Association's "Never My Love" 45 record.  (You gotta see them do this one on Ed Sullivan at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npFe4MyccYE). The "B" side was called "Requiem for the Masses" and is one of the most interesting Association songs (and one of my favorites).  You can hear it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-Gdfe-Glxc


Here's a close-up of the Drifters Clock.


The Disk Clock surrounded by a weird variety of computer parts.


This is the "Chubby Checker" Clock with The Twist, a rock anthem of the early 60s:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRDGBpEqLfs


Although this is hard to see, it is at the bottom of the canvas.  There are five gray switches at the bottom with clips and wires going under the canvas and popping up elsewhere, mostly in the middle of records.  Above it are some old computer parts that are labeled with numbers. I have no earthly clue what they do, but they are colorful and pretty.


This starts the progression of components that start with the switches on the bottom of the canvas and curl around the right side and all the way up to the top of the canvas and hook into the speaker embedded in the Stones' 45 cover.  They are clipped, hooked, and connected every which way and you have to really see them closer to envision how much work and time (and craziness) went into this.  I would glue a single piece one night, cover it with blue tape to keep it in place, and then come back the next night and add another piece. Or sometimes I would look at it after unwrapping the tape and rip it out and start with something new there.  No wonder it took me 6 months!


Here the sideshow continues with a circuit board (1970s).


Now it ventures past the only clock that is not a working clock and connects to a mass of wires and a small speaker (that round thing in the middle of the blue and red connectors).


From there it goes up to the Stones speaker deep in the mouth of the tongue!


Here is a close-up of the small speaker and how it is all connected together in a seemingly purposeful sequence.


Angie ... Angie ... When will those clouds all disappear?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-21QK9F1NWc


A larger view of the upper right side with everything converging on the tongue!


Here starts the left side connectors.  Starting with a multicolored flat connector that was used to connect many components in the early desktop computers (this one connected a disk drive to the motherboard on an Apple IIe, I think), it hooks to a variety of obsolete technology only to connect with the speaker in the middle on its way to the top.


Here it continues through a circuit board and some quite colorful red and white wires.  One of the things that was the most fun was finding wires and creating colorful combinations. 


Here we are back at the top and Janis ...


where it all connects to a speaker.  Notice that one of the wires (the yellow one) actually comes from underneath the canvas and through the "C" in Cheap Thrills.


Here is how I connected the two speakers at the top.  Wires came from each speaker and met in the middle with other wires meeting them from under the canvas and through the record albums.  I love my dremel! Just a quick touch and I am cutting through anything.  Thanks to Bob for the dremel and set of a zillion attachments.  Hopefully I won't hurt myself too badly.


And finally, my signature and the year.  It seems that I feel compelled to sign my pieces in keyboard keys.  Since I have at least 10 old keyboards and a huge baggie of miscellaneous keys, that should keep me going for quite some time.  Well, I hope you enjoyed the picture (and video) show and got to hear some golden oldies on YouTube.  Hopefully the next one won't take me another six months.