In October, artist Anna Ridler introduces a new kind of countdown clock in Times Square. Using complex algorithms to explore non-human ways of keeping time, Ridler’s Circadian Nocturne features AI-generated animations of night-blooming and night-scented flora: queen of the night cactuses, the moonflower, night-blooming jasmine, night phlox, and evening stock. Painterly petals slowly blossom into a dreamlike garden — chronobiological clocks set against the mechanical and digital structures that set the pace of our contemporary lives.
Created with artificial intelligence and a high-tech machine that can keep time at an atomic level, Circadian Nocturne also pairs modern, highly precise computerized timekeeping methods with the often unpredictable and imprecise imagery created by autonomous digital software and is part of an ongoing project exploring time and technology. Welcoming this tension, Ridler visually obscures tech-based accuracy with something more organic and in sync with the natural landscape.
An artist-designed mobile app featuring a smaller, single screen version of the project and an original musical score by composer William Marsey will accompany the Times Square presentation of Circadian Nocturne, allowing for more intimate experience of the work from anywhere in the world.
ABOUT ANNA RIDLER
Based in London, Anna Ridler is an artist and researcher who works with systems of knowledge and how technologies are created in order to better understand the world. She is particularly interested in ideas around measurement and quantification and how this relates to the natural world. Her process often involves working with collections of information or data, particularly datasets, to create new and unusual narratives.
Ridler holds an MA in Information Experience Design from the Royal College of Art and a BA in English Literature and Language from Oxford University along with fellowships at the Creative Computing Institute at University of the Arts London. Her work has been exhibited at cultural institutions worldwide including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Barbican Centre, Centre Pompidou, HeK Basel, the ZKM Karlsruhe, Ars Electronica, Sheffield Documentary Festival and the Leverhulme Centre for Future Intelligence. She was a European Union EMAP fellow and the winner of the 2018-2019 DARE Art Prize. Ridler has received commissions by Salford University, the Photographers Gallery, Opera North, and Impakt Festival. She was listed as one of the nine “pioneering artists” exploring AI’s creative potential by Artnet and received an honorary mention in the 2019 Ars Electronica Golden Nica award for the category AI & Life Art. She was nominated for a “Beazley Designs of the Year” award in 2019 by the Design Museum for her work on datasets and categorization.
ABOUT WILLIAM MARSEY
William Marsey is a UK-based composer. His compositions, described as "vivid" and "somewhat unsettling," have been commissioned and performed internationally, including commissions from LA Phil and BBC Arts, and performances by ensembles like the Hallé orchestra and Royal Northern Sinfonia. His music has been performed and exhibited across the UK, USA, Canada, and Europe, and he was nominated for a British Composer Award nomination in 2018.
Midnight Moment is made possible by the Times Square Advertising Coalition, ABC SuperSign, American Eagle, Branded Cities, Clear Channel, Disney Store, Express, Levi's, LG, Line Friends, Morgan Stanley, Microsoft, New Tradition, Outfront, Paramount, Sensory Interactive, Sephora, Sherwood Equities, Show + Tell, Silvercast, Swatch, T-Mobile, TSX, and JCDecaux.
Major support of Times Square Arts is provided by Morgan Stanley. Additional program support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; and public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council. Additional support for Midnight Moment is provided by Meta Open Arts and the Times Square Advertising Coalition.
Photos by Michael Hull for Times Square Arts.