No Dischord about Chords

conrad_shawcross_nervous_1

I’m kind of fascinated by British artist Conrad Shawcross. He first came to my attention a few years ago with his sculpture The Nervous System (pictured left). Then I read about his exhibition Continuum at the UK’s National Maritime Museum back in 2005. Is he an artist? Is he some kind of mad scientist? I’m not sure, and this is exactly why I like his work. His latest project, entitled Chords, is a giant site-specific mechanical installation in London’s Kingsway tram tunnel, a spot that’s been closed to the public since 1952. Because the spot is so precarious, only a few people can go through at a time with the guide, so all tickets are currently sold out, but you can get on a waiting list here. According to Rachel Cooke’s story in the Guardian:

Visitors meet at a spot close to the mouth of the tunnel. In the company of a chaperone, they then walk down into it, heading south in the gloom for several hundred metres, a route that takes them past the eerie raised platform and tiled walls of the old Holborn tram station. Beyond this lies Chord, which comprises two vast machines, each moving painfully slowly away from the other on a specially built track. Each machine has three giant rotating arms, on the end of which are a series of nine smaller arms. On the end of these are 27 yet smaller arms, and on the end of these are spools of thick, coloured cord. Little by little, as the machines make their way towards opposite ends of the tunnel – they move at only a quarter of an RPM – they are weaving a thick, multi-coloured rope. During the month that Chord is open to the public, the machines will make their 100 metre journey twice and produce two such ropes.

This installation just opened on the 8th of October, and apparently there was such high demand for (free) tickets that the web site crashed  in the days leading up to the opening, and the organizers have had to double the number of tickets available. If you’re in London, please go check it out!

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~ by Valerie Palmer on October 15, 2009.

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