IMG_0894.JPGThese elements, originally under the working title "ashtrays that point north," are thin, non ferrous forms loaded with two parallel polar magnets. Alone, they orient to the pole, or the closest source of iron or magnetism. Together, they form a kinetic array with an uncanny connection.

They developed out of research into early compasses. The bowl is a descendent of the Chinese spoon compass, and the parallel polar bars were suggested by early powerful navigation devices. I was trying to build the largest compass I could, and my experiments began to inevitably interact.

The key to getting the most out of them is twofold: combining the longest, strongest, polar rod magnets I can afford and creating a frictionless bearing under the semisphere bowl. My first models are brass and copper, but any hard non-ferrous material will work. Friction is the enemy, so I am looking into thin stainless steel, titanium, or perhaps carbon fiber or kevlar as I attempt to scale up. They sit upon highly polished stone or glass, and their motion is initiated by a touch from the viewer. The reflected light seems to be the most interesting part of the sculpture, and I will work with that as I evaluate the site, choose a scale and a suitable number of elements for the installation.

copyright Dec 2011