Overnight Projects 
Spurious Brood: Christopher Mahonski

Overnight Projects  presents Spurious Brood, an outdoor installation by Virginia-based artist Christopher Mahonski. The artist used  200 Timex Ironman watches, set to ring in intervals, in the branches of trees on the Northwest corner of City Hall Park in Burlington, Vermont. The project aims to evoke the sound of cicadas on a summer night.

Mahonski traces our evolving relationship to nature and time with an installation of hundreds of digital wristwatches infesting the park’s trees. By strategically setting each clock’s alarm, Mahonski creates a digital symphony that performs daily in the park at 4:00PM and 5:00PM.

This haunting aural experience is further enhanced by the subtle blue light each watch emits while “chiming.” Celebrating the setting sun, the rising moon, and the resounding digital chorus, the glowing watch faces also reference the luminous wings and dark opalescent bodies of the cicadas. Mahonski’s installation composes sound and light, all while artificially – but no less earnestly – reproducing a natural phenomenon.

The title, Spurious Brood, references groups of cicadas that emerge years too early or late, out of step with the rest of their species. “Cicadas [like a] biologic clock that both overlaps and exists outside of our human concept of time,” Mahonski says.
“Although Spurious Brood is installed — and removed — as a sanctioned public artwork,” the artist continues, “it is meant to evoke guerilla-style placement. It forms a confrontational relationship to the majority of public art we encounter by subtly opposing monumental figurative statues or heroic modernist abstractions plopped around our cities.”

Mahonski was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and received his BFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and his MFA in sculpture at Virginia Commonwealth University. Mahonski has shown work nationally, is an adjunct instructor at VCU and Mary Washington University. For a full CV, visit christophermahonski.com.