A ‘cuckoo’ art exhibit

There is now plenty of time to wander around at Northeastern’s Gallery 360 thanks to a unique exhibit that puts a modern twist on an iconic clock.

Titled “24 Hours in the Life of a Swiss Cuckoo,” the exhibit officially opened Thursday evening and features contemporary reinventions of the Swiss cuckoo clock, which is traditionally known for its meticulous design embodying rustic life in Switzerland.

The exhibit, which is making its U.S. debut, is on display until July 12. It showcases 24 clocks created by students and teachers at the Geneva University of Art and Design, who used materials such as wood, brass, paper, and electronics to “update” an entity that has been around for hundreds of years.

“It is a spectacular exhibition,” said Nathan Felde, chair of the Department of Art + Design in the College of Arts, Media and Design. “It brings this issue of craft, indigenous art, and folk art together with fine art. And it brings this traditional interactive device up-to-date with these incredible customizations.”

The “Coucou Bijou” combines Swiss jewelry and clock making as a small clock pendant moves down a chain to mark the passage of time. “Peeping Clock” utilizes traditional wood carving synonymous with Swiss cuckoos to create a base for a smartphone or tablet—the modern-day timekeeper.

24 Hours in the Life of a Swiss Cuckoo Clock

One of the 24 cuckoo clocks on display at Gallery 360. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

The exhibit is presented by Gallery 360, Northeastern’s Center for the Arts, and the Department of Art + Design, in partnership with Swissnex Boston, the Consulate of Switzerland in Boston.

“You will see new media plays a very important role in the exhibition,” said Andreas Rufer, deputy consul and project leader for art and culture at Swissnex Boston.

This is the third time Northeastern’s art community and Swissnex Boston have collaborated to bring an original exhibit to campus. In 2013, Swiss Style Reboot showcased graphic design principles developed by pioneers of Swiss Style. Last year, an exhibit featured projects honored with the renowned Watt d’Or Award, which is presented by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy.

As part of the exhibit’s official opening on Thursday, Lysianne Léchot Hirt, dean of studies at Geneva University of Art and Design, gave a lecture in the Studio Theatre on the state of Swiss Design Research. Design schools in Switzerland, she explained, are very active in finding the balance between the creative nature of design activities and the necessary rigors required to call those activities research.