Wednesday Oct 17 2012
Colfax artist's clock is world's 'largest timepiece'
By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
Bowers' 1Mile Clock project recognized by Guinness
The effort by Colfax multimedia artist Jim Bowers to have the 1Mile Clock project recognized by the Guinness World Records has paid off. On Oct. 3, Bowers learned that the collaborative work – which he created with the help of more than 100 scientists, volunteers and artists worldwide and included at the 2011 Burning Man festival at Black Rock Desert, Nev. – had received the record for the “largest timepiece” with a “clock face area of 8.42km2,” or 3.25 miles. “In my lifetime, I've accomplished many meaningful things and been recognized for my work and efforts,” Bowers said. “This project and the World Record recognition definitely rank up there near the top. It's now an important part of my legacy and I can scratch ‘build biggest clock’ off my extensive ‘bucket list.’ Mission accomplished – now, onward to new adventures in my life!” The 1Mile Clock’s 12 hour-towers, each 22 feet tall, were placed around the Burning Man playa to mark the hours. Equipped with 1.7 watt green YAG lasers, its beams were visible from a distance of more than 10 miles. It was also photographed by the GeoEye Satellite in space, which recorded the festival dedicated to art and self-expression. During the day, the clock’s 45-foot central laser tower acted as a sundial, casting its shadow across eight granite slabs. At the end of Burning Man, which starts every year during the week leading up to Labor Day, the entire clock burned to the ground as the festival grand finale. According to Bowers, it took 11 months to design and build the timepiece, which required he take time off from work to see its completion. It was a $32,000 project, and involved a total of 124 participants and volunteers working on the endeavor. Bowers also said 58 artists from around the world and as far away as South Africa supplied art to the clock’s towers at the festival. While the clock was Bowers’ vision, it was engineered by physicists Marcus Hertlein and Russell Wilcox of Lawrence Berkeley Labs. Hertlein was the laser engineer, Tim Black the software engineer, Dan Pritchett the solar engineer, and the technical advisor was Brad Lindsay. Colfax contractor Arlen Bodily was the construction manager for the clock. Bodily said receiving the Guinness World Record designation is rewarding, but it’s not nearly as important as it is “building it, seeing it work, burning it and leaving it there.” Bodily said that while world record brings notoriety to the project, it is secondary to the appreciation for the clock and the friends he made with people who helped with construction. “Jim’s got some great ideas,” Bodily said. “His mind bounces around … and I feed of it. I built and designed around what was practical as far as money and resources. We had a great time.” Bowers credited the work of the many individuals involved with the 1Mile Clock for the project’s success. "This project ‘literally’ never would have gotten off the ground without the amazing support from people like Arlen Bodily and Marc Hertlein,” Bowers said. “Locally, we owe a big debt of gratitude to Sunbelt, Hansen Brothers and AmeriGas. They all deserve as much credit for the clock as I do."