Unveiled by the Royal Academy of Arts and St Pancras International the major site-specific installation, The Interpretation of Movement (a 9:8 in blue), 2017, is Conrad Shawcross’s most ambitious mechanical work to date, stretching out to a 16m diameter as it methodically turns above the station concourse. Consisting of three articulated arms driven by a complex sequence of gears, the mechanism drives three ‘optic sails’ which expand and contract in an orbit from the centre, at which point they eclipse each other where they form a complex pattern of interference.
Conrad Shawcross RA, said: “The machine is driven by a precise set of gears taken from fundamental ratios within harmonics that culminate in an exact and controlled unified movement of its parts. I am convinced that meaning lies within the abstract interplay of its components together with their vectors and accelerations. The machine is elusive; it is constantly shifting in an undefinable state of change and constancy that echoes the very contradictory stuff that we are made of.”
The work is commissioned for Terrace Wires, the station’s public commissioning programme for new artwork by leading international artists. This is the third instalment of a four-year partnership between HS1 Ltd. (owners of St Pancras International) and the Royal Academy for the station’s public sculpture series.
Image: Conrad Shawcross, The Interpretation of Movement (a 9:8 in blue), 2017, Terrace Wires commission for St Pancras International. Photo: Tim Whitby/Getty Images for HS1.