Beautiful artwork plays the UNIX timestamp on cymbals

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Mexico City-based artist Pablo Dávila's "Living in time believing in the timeless" is a beautiful, compelling installation in which the UNIX timestamp triggers drumsticks, via an Arduino and custom code, to ping crotales (aka antique cymbals). It makes the ephemeral (and digital) visceral. The work is simultaneously jarring and meditative, a rather odd and provocative state to maintain.

"As each second of UNIX code is inherently unique, the drumming pattern of 'Living in time believing in the timeless' never repeats," Dávila says. "The UNIX timestamp will end on the year 2038, and the sculpture will die with it – a conflation of past-future time."

Dávila's work -- from light installations to kinetic sculpture -- lies at the intersection of science, technology, and wonder. You can experience his first solo exhibition in the United States, including "Living in time...," at San Francisco's CULT Gallery through next week. The show, curated by Aimee Friberg and featuring Dávila's magnificent works inspired by the thinking of Marshall McLuhan, Tibetan Buddhist/yogi Milrepa, and minimalist composer Steve Reich, is titled "Ladies & Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space."

"Light rays manifest themselves in a way in which our brain must process what is captured by our eyes for us to comprehend what we are seeing," Dávila says. "I believe we are disoriented in our comprehension and perception of time and space, I am attracted to particular objects that confront this deception and speak to me to me with distinct speeds, aesthetics and spaces."

PABLO DÁVILA, Ad libitum (piano phase), 2016, Print on cotton paper, aluminum frame, LED’s, 35 x 158 x 6 cm, 13.75 x 62 x 2.5 in (Triptych), Edition of 2 + 1 AP:

PABLO DÁVILA, Constant (phase), 2016, Video projection on canvas, 175 x 175 x 5 cm, 69 x 69 x 2 in, Edition of 2 + 1 AP:

PABLO DÁVILA, Living in time believing in the timeless, 2016, Drumsticks and custom electronics, 85 x 147 x 13 cm, 33.25 x 58 x 5 in:

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