61/ 60 (026)

The ‘leap-second’ is the quantum of time irregularly added to our global clock — keeping our lives in-sync with the stars. These small corrections overcome the inherent contradictions between the specificity and precision of atomic time-keeping and the irregularity of the Earth’s own physical movement — a compensation for our intransigent relationship with the sun.

61/60 has been conceived as a performative action, designed to commemorate the introduction of leap seconds within Universal Coordinated Time (UTC) with a one-second action coincident with its introduction. 

The principal investigator, poised with a pair of orchestral symbols waits for the new second in a demarcated area. At precise 23:59:60 (UTC) the cymbals are struck once before being returned to their cradle. Each performance is staged with a new pair of cymbals that are only struck once, then ‘retired’ post-performance — holding the resonance of each second ad infinitum. 

The first iteration of this series (026) was staged in Times Square, New York, (USA) coincident with the introduction of the 26th leap-second on June 30, 2015, at precisely 19:59:60 EDT (23:59:60 UTC). The second iteration (027) was staged at Lick Observatory, Mount Hamilton, California (USA), concurrent with the introduction of the 27th leap-second on December 31, 2016 at precisely 15:59:60 PST (23:59:60 UTC).

All subsequent 61/60 performances are subject to the rulings of the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service (IERS) — the agency that regulates the use of leap-seconds. 61/60 is, therefore, as much a conscious act of waiting as a physical action, and can be staged only when the Earth tarries sufficiently in its orbit

It is the intention that this performance will occur for as long as there are leap seconds – it is a life-long act, simultaneous the shortest and longest action that the investigator will undertake. 

It is the intention for the performance to document the introduction of the leap second in every one of the 39 time zone variants. [Should the Earth maintain the average rate of one leap second every 18-month period, this would take 55.5 years to accomplish.]