British artist Peter Newman’s Dial collection is a series of circular time-lapse video works which present the view looking up from different locations across the globe. Each capture a 220 degree panoramic view of different urban spaces from a rarely considered viewpoint, encompassing everything from the street level activity to the sky overhead at the centre. The title of the series refers to the artworks’ resemblance to the face of a clock, both through their circular shape and their flow of movement around a central axis, which mark and reflect the passage of time.
The Dial series presents an unusual convex representation of mega-cities in which activity is seemingly stimulated by a hypnotic energy that sends details whirling around the outer edge of the frame. The videos, captured by a vintage scientific lens adapted for a modern camera form spheres which are at the same time still and full of movement. Originally invented to observe the stars, Newman points his all-sky lens at the Earth and watches cities perform as though a stage production of the modern metropolis. Newman choreographs skyscrapers that in one city collectively gleam from the prevailing daylight and in another illuminate the night themselves. The diverging and converging elements of rippling water, the swell of clouds and airplanes moving like shooting stars in an expansive sky, and the intense bustle of cars and people, contribute to the making of each of these unique works. Spurred on by an interest in modernist architecture and in the city as a representation of the future, Newman’s distinct crystal balls envisage a world shaped as much by man as it is by other forces.