Loop System Quintet (2005)

Long exposure photograph of the installation in the gallery with looped light trails

Photograph by Jonathan Shaw
© Copyright Conrad Shawcross

Oak, metal, gears, cogs, screws, wiring, wax, bolts, nuts, washers, metal drive shafts, flange units, motor, controller, transformer, DVDs

Courtesy of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery, London.

Each of the five oak machines in Loop System Quintet - connected by a single drive-shaft - draws a different ‘knot’ of light in space, predetermined by the ratio of the cogs that drive it. These ratios are directly related to formal theories of musical harmony (Harmonics). The resulting light patterns, perceived by the viewer only as the machines rotate, can therefore be regarded as visual transcriptions of musical chords. Each machine has no further purpose. The artist has said:

“It is all folly, and with no use or product, as a machine, it is tragic”.

The circles of energy produced by the lights also relate to string theory, a complex scientific theory stating that matter is comprised of vibrating ‘strings’ of energy rather than single, isolated particles.