Time Immemorial

Eric Hagan

A kinetic sculpture in which the movement of a pendulum clock powers the growth of a mechanical tree. This project bridges man-made and natural methods of time-keeping.


Time Immemorial is a kinetic sculpture inspired by Jean Robert-Houdin's Marvelous Orange Tree illusion and the automata of German clock makers. A mechanical tree sculpture slowly emerges and then recedes, powered by the periodic motion of a pendulum clock. The synchronized movement forges a connection between natural and artificial methods of time keeping. Furthermore, in erasing the evidence of its own past, the cyclical movement of this project rethinks the reliance on sculptures and trees as memorial objects.
Created using rapid prototyping techniques and digital fabrication equipment, Time Immemorial re-appropriates classical mechanisms to create life-like physical animation.

Those who wish to connect with time in a physical sense.

User Scenario
My project is primarily about observation. The user input required is merely a simple winding to store potential energy. The tree feeds off of this mechanical energy over the course of time, withering as it reaches the end of the cycle.

The sculpture is a combination of plexi glass, wood, delrin, steel rod and assorted steel rod.

In building this project, I have broken a lot of acrylic both intentional and unintentionally. I learned that friction is either an ally or the strongest of enemies, to accept tolerances, and that nothing is ever right the first time.