rusted steel, sand and time
A hollow cube of rusted sheet steel is filled with sand and suspended while the sand trickles from a small aperture onto the ground. The dimensions of the cube are determined by the volume of sand, the weight of sand corresponds to a human body. Sand is a product of the weathering processes of landmass breaking down into loose grains of worn out and disintegrated rocks. Sand has been used to measure the passage of time since the ancients, such as the two chambered glass vessel that allows sand to run through a narrowed neck from one chamber to the other for a calculated duration. An hourglass can be used indefinitely, turned over and started again. It represents the present as being that point between two halves narrowed perhaps to a single grain, it depicts the moving point in time of now; between the visible past and the visible future. In Free Fall, the grains of sand fall from a rusting container that hides its contents. The past is visible, the present only as it falls and the future is unknown. The sand can only fall until it stops. Finite resources, environmental crisis, extinctions, industrial decline, hidden agendas, short termism and tipping points are all part of the dialogue while todays advances in science require us to question our understanding of time itself.
This piece was first shown in September 2015. 2,000 visitors came to the Process show over 5 days during which time the pristine pile of sand that formed on the floor became a magnet for human intervention. Regardless of human interactions the sand kept flowing and slowly covered the marks left by inquisitive hands until it was as if they had never been.
Construction steel cube by Piers Edsall
Dimensions Cube 40cm and chain/hook approx 50cm. Total 90cm. Metal cube and chain weighs 19kg approx, sand 50kg in total but added in 25kg batches ( 2 sand bags added one at a time). Total max hanging weight is 45kg.
Installation The cube is suspended from a chain and hook, 5-6ft from the ground, ideally from the ceiling. It can be adapted to suit the space it is being installed and additional length chains or suspension hooks can be made.
Duration will depend on the ambient humidity and how many times the sand stops and is re-started; approx 3- 5 days
Images from the Flameworks Process Show, 5 Southside, Barbican, Plymouth, September 2015