Conceptually, Clockwork Universe explores early scientific theories of astronomy, which saw the universe as a gigantic deterministic machine in which measurements made with sufficient precision could in theory, predict future outcomes. Although the laws of mechanics discovered by Newton and others are a superb at prediction the behavior of most of the objects around us, when measurements are made with sufficient precision and over long enough time, there are inevitable deviations. Some of these very slight deviations were noticed in the measured position of the planet Mercury. The discrepancy between theory and experiment was tiny but real. Ultimately Einstein was able to explain this using relativity and the concept of massive objects distorting space-time.
There are numerous reasons, some based in quantum science and some more philosophical, to believe that despite appearances, the universe we live in doesn't operate in a purely mechanical, deterministic way. This is referenced by a plate the side of the sculpture asking "Why would a clockwork universe require a speed adjuster?"
An animation of the moon going through it's phases can be seen through the centre of the sculpture. This was developed in collaboration with 3D artist Antony Williams.
Clockwork Universe is now installed in the foyer of Questacon (the National Science and Technology Centre) in Canberra.
Concept drawing for Clockwork Universe
Minature concept demonstrator for Clockwork Universe (You can see this along with many other items at the Antipodean Steampunk exhibition at Artisan gallery