Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Alpha and Omega of Human Artifice

H/t to MB, one of Medieval Robots' LA correspondents, for drawing my attention to this mind-blowing ad for the Omega Co-Axial Chronometer. For those of you not completely au courant with horological developments in recent decades, Omega introduced the Co-Axial escapement in 1999, when it was the first new significant development in mechanical watch movement technology in centuries.* 

Visually similar to the opening credit sequence to "Game of Thrones," the ad also hits some important and longstanding themes from the intersection of art and technology, especially horological timekeeping. The opening VO neatly encapsulates the possibility of human art perfecting (or perhaps surpassing) nature. The visuals, which meld natural and technological "movements" of different kinds, recall Martin Kemp's observation about the permeable boundaries, in Gothic and Renaissance art, between art and nature. And the final image of the mechanical orrery makes it clear that timekeeping--even in a wristwatch--is a way of mimicking the perfect movements of the heavens. 

*The escapement is the mechanism that allows for the stored potential energy (in the case of a mechanical wristwatch, this energy is usually generated from winding a spring) to be released in regular increments.

No comments: