It's About Time (Kids)

Mona Hatoum. + and -. 1994—2004

Mona Hatoum. + and -. 1994-2004

Sand , steel, aluminum, and electric motor, 10 5/8" (27 cm) high x 13' 1 ½" (400.1 cm) diameter. Gift of Jerry Speyer and Committee on Painting and Sculpture Funds. © 2018 Mona Hatoum

[Gulls crying]

Narrator: Did you ever build a castle in the sand…?

[Surf breaking, swish of water washing over beach, then receding]

…then watch the waves smooth it away? That’s what happens in this piece by Mona Hatoum. The circle is filled with sand. The long arm sweeps around it every 12 seconds. One half of the arm has teeth on it. As they rake the sand into a regular pattern, the other half of the arm smooths it out again. Every moment something is created – and something is destroyed.

This piece of art is called + and –. Whenever something is added, the exact same amount is taken away.

Our lives are full of repeating cycles. Some seem positive. Like plants that sprout in spring, scatter seeds in summer, lose leaves in fall, sleep in winter, then begin growing again. Some seem boring. Like making a bed each morning, then sleeping in it at night, so you have to make it again the next day.

How do you think Hatoum’s piece would change if the arm turned very slowly?

[Smooth slow sound]

How about if it turned much faster? If the arm turned really fast,

[Whizzing by]

maybe it would look like the grooves went all the way around… Or maybe the sand would just fly all over the gallery!

[Spinning out of control, laughter]

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