This week, we caught up with London-based artist, Conrad Shawcross.
1. THE INTERPRETATION OF MOVEMENT, IS ARGUABLY YOUR MOST AMBITIOUS MECHANICAL WORK TO DATE, WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO UNDERTAKE THIS HUGE PROJECT?
There have been other highly complex machines over the years: Chord in the abandoned Holborn underpass reached a length of 100m when fully extended although the two twin machines were much smaller. The tower we built for the MUDAM in Luxembourg to house The Nervous Systems Inverted (2010) was 16m tall and a vast undertaking both structurally and mechanically – consisting of 40 separate arms.
The Interpretation of Movement (a 9:8 in Blue) however definitely has the largest span of anything we’ve ever made. Knowing it would hang in St Pancras International certainly brought with it a lot of risk, but the results are worth it.
2. YOU HAVE NAMED THE PIECE ‘THE INTERPRETATION OF MOVEMENT’. WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND THIS?
We interpret movement and find meaning in it every moment of our waking day. Whether that’s the movement of leaves on a tree before we leave the house or the motion of the face and all the complex meaning that is contained there. Most meaning is elusive, interpretive, subjective and conceptual. I’m convinced meaning lies in the complex interplay of arms driven by specific harmonic ratio, but it’s elusive and so it is not for me to say what this is.
3. THE MACHINE BOASTS A DIAMETER OF A HUGE 16M, WHAT EXACTLY IS IT MADE UP OF?
The machine is made of steel, aluminium and carbon fibre and the huge structure will hang from the roof of St Pancras International until December this year. If you’re visiting the station, remember to look up.
4. ARE THERE ANY FUTURE PROJECTS WHICH WE SHOULD BE LOOKING OUT FOR?
I have a big sculpture opening in Philadelphia later this year, but that’s quite far away from London!
5. WHAT ARE YOU FAVOURITE SPOTS IN LONDON?
I live in the East London but it’s changed a lot in the last ten years and is no longer so exciting to me, whereas places like Tottenham contain a pathos that intrigues me. I often bike up the Lea river from my house to the M25. It’s an exciting journey through shifting landscapes of wastelands and reservoirs all punctuated by alternative communities living on and by the river.