Conrad Shawcross’ new ‘crazy machine’ spins into St Pancras International
The British artist Conrad Shawcross has a thing about harmony. And not some woolly idea of beauty in balance but harmony proper; the harmony of mathematical ratios and Pythagorean intervals, of chords, secret and otherwise. He sees this harmony, or rather finds it, with a sort of engineered synaesthesia, in the strange machines he invents or in particular swoops and curves he creates; in mostly large-scale, complex sculptures, often with moving parts that follow elegant, elliptical ways and paths generated, in part, by beautiful numbers. ‘The brain is activated by notes or certain chords in a way it isn’t by dissonance or discordancy,’ says Shawcross. ‘It triggers emotion and thought and enquiry. So I’m just using these ancient harmonies and transmogrifying them into ratios through machines to see what happens.’
As a young man he became obsessed with a little book called Harmonograph: A Visual Guide to the Mathematics of Music. The book is mostly a collection of remarkable diagrams: repeating swirls, loops, twists and sinusoids, a complex but elemental geometry that seems to exist in three dimensions, if not more, created by a Victorian scientific gizmo called the harmonograph. Initially a research tool designed to measure movement in buildings and then adopted as a parlour entertainment, the harmonograph uses swinging pendulums with moveable weights to push pens and create patterns based on different harmonic ratios. For Shawcross, these intervals and ratios, and the patterns they generate, are things to be pushed and played with but always to be respected. He has used them in many of his works, including a giant new piece to be installed at London’s St Pancras International terminal this summer.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
A Tribeca hair salon is offering an oasis of calm to its curly-haired clients
Set in an unassuming corner of east London, Remi Connolly-Taylor’s bijou first build is a perfect fit
Pierre Yovanovitch launches his long-awaited first furniture label
Metropolitan meanderings in minimalist monochrome
Yves Behar on the spurs and span of his design for good
Mario Tsai’s pared-back designs are the shape of things to come
Hermès hits hyperdrive with a one-off design for McLaren’s futuristic Speedtail
An exceptional Okavango safari lodge is a lush showcase for the best of African design
A new home in India is a machine for multigenerational living, offering spaces to both meet and retreat
Cultural hope springs eternal as Salon 94 opens the doors on its new Manhattan space
MIAMI NICE BUT HERO SHAWCROSS WILL ALWAYS HAVE THE POTTERIES
IF Stoke City’s social media community is anything to go by, February 19 will become some sort of day of remembrance in the Potteries.
Shawcross lured Miami move
DAVID Beckham wants to take Stoke legend Ryan Shawcross to Inter Miami.
Kate & Stuart ‘They're A Lost Cause'
Is it finally the end of the road for the embattled couple?
Sólida relación entre la mafia calabresa y los cárteles mexicanos
Tomás Yarrington, el exgobernador de Tamaulipas que en abril fue extraditado a Estados Unidos, vivía escondido en un pueblo de la región italiana de Calabria. Y aunque el jefe de la policía antimafia de Italia no lo reconoce abiertamente, todo hace suponer que el tamaulipeco estaba protegido por el crimen organizado local, la ‘Ndrangheta. Lo que el entrevistado sí afirma es que ese grupo criminal mantiene hasta la fecha relaciones “sólidas”, “sanas”, con los cárteles mexicanos de la droga.