Zero Hour Contract

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Sarah Browne, Zero Hour Contract, 2014. Shetland knitting belt and modified clock (leatherette, steel, metronome). Installation view at Irish Museum of Modern Art, July 2021-2022. Photo: Ros Kavanagh

‘Sarah Browne elucidates historical precedence on “how surplus time is exploited in contemporary life” with an accomplished pairing of artefacts. A curious leather pouch stuffed with horsehair is revealed as a Shetland Island knitting belt, used to enable the female wearer to carry out one-handed knitting, thus freeing up the other hand to engage in some form of concurrent labour. Meanwhile, a subdued but regular ticking is audible from the wall-mounted Zero Hour Contract – a modified clock, whose workings have been obscured by black [leatherette] held taut within its circular steel rim. Resembling a total solar eclipse, the pensive haloed disc summons both primeval natural rhythms and contemporary labour patterns to address the possibility of ever “clocking off”. Viewed alongside [the knitting belt], the shadowy portal actively functions as a black hole in the myth that pressurised multi-tasking is a modern-day, technological or urban phenomenon.’                                              

– Joanne Laws, Art Monthly, March 2015 no. 384                  

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First exhibited with Hand to Mouth at The Pattern Exchange, curated by Rosie Lynch and Hollie Kearns at Temple Bar Gallery & Studios, Dublin, 2015.