An art project like “UND ENDLICH” by the Munich artist duo GÆG is always special: A large clock is to be braced in a rock arch near Julier Pass – even these first details about the project left no doubt that PFEIFER wants to be part of this project.
The clock in the natural arch
In the surreal area of the Julier Pass, a unique installation is to be built that will allow visitors to let time pass more slowly the closer they get to the object until it finally even stops.
While approaching the arch after hiking through the imposing mountain landscape, a specially developed sensor system detects the visitor. The needles of the analog clock turn slower and slower until they finally come to a stop. If the guest leaves the clock again, the hands speed up as before.
Technology and nature
It is necessary to suspend the clock, which weighs approx. 300 kg, as steady and perfectly aligned as possible in its exposed position to avoid disturbing the sensitive sensor system. The 2 m diameter of the clock is very sensitive to wind loads. Therefore, the object must be well braced in the eroded arch. As a unique landmark, the arch itself will be left unharmed after the clock has been dismantled. After all, it must be possible to complete the assembly concept without a crane, since the site is not accessible by road.
How to make a clock appear to float
Considering all these requirements ask for a high degree of practical thinking and the ability to depart from standard solutions. PFEIFER developed a concept that meets all these demands in close cooperation with the engineering office and artists.
The bracing steel ropes are designed as flexible stranded wire ropes with a diameter of 9 mm. Wire ropes offer the perfect combination of small nominal diameters and high load-bearing capacity. The visual impression of the floating clock was not affected by eye-catching tensioning, and at the same time, the high pre-tensioning forces needed to keep the clock at rest could be absorbed.
The length of the upwards tensioning ropes can be freely adjusted at one end of the ropes so the clock’s positioning can be fine-tuned. All rope ends connecting directly to the clock are equipped with architecture-appealing open swaged fittings from the UMIX series. The downward-tensioning ropes will be fixed to the rock with anchors.
Inside the aluminum body of the clock is a steel frame that must be braced. Due to the limited space available and ease of handling, lashings were used for this purpose.
Thanks to the support of an internal expert who usually installs protective structures in the Alps, perfect alignment of the clock was achieved using textile ropes, chain hoists, lashings, and wedges.
Since the successful installation and the official release of the artwork, the clock is a good opportunity for visitors to leave everyday life behind and let time stand still until September 24, 2021.