Persistence of Time: Antique Gadgets Unzipped for Art

reconnecting time

The gadgets of yesterday are often turned into the art of today, and this concept is carried out delightfully in the art of Hu Shaoming. He uses technological relics of the early 20th century to show the internal beauty of the objects’ working parts.

antique clock

mechanical alarm clock

“Reconnecting Time” is a series of four objects: a 1910s telephone, a 1920s alarm clock, a 1930s camera, and a 1940s portable film camera. Each has been painstakingly disassembled.

1910s telephone

The artist then reconstructed every piece with a stationary zipper. Rather than pulling apart and putting together pieces of the objects, the zippers serve to reveal their inner mechanisms.

old video camera

deconstructed zipper video camera

Although the zippers don’t move, they connect the antique gadgets with the present day. They allow for a glimpse into the mechanical parts that made each of the items work – a view that we don’t usually get until we deconstruct an object.

20th century camera

According to the artist, the pieces use the zippers as hands to pull the gadgets from the beginning of industrial age into the present. He destroyed their original forms and then carefully pieced them back together to create something that is neither firmly in the past or the present.

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See more in Antique Gadgets or under Vintage & Retro. October, 2014.