Conrad Shawcross – Chord – Observer Review

This is the second time Conrad Shawcross has made it into my blog..

Just read a review and interview of Conrad Shawcross in last weeks Observer by Rachel Cooke.  Goodness, what is the matter with this journalist? .. she wrote “The handsome, saturnine Shawcross, who is adorable – intense and difident by turns – flashes me an agonised smile.” I haven’t come across such dribble since I last read a Mills and Boon when I was 14 years old, and that is a long time!  Last week she wrote a piece on Harriet Harman which was equally biased, but in the opposite direction, dripping hostility.  Having said all this I showed the article on Shawcross to a colleague, whose immediate reation was “phwoarrrgh.. he’s nice” looking at the photo before reading a word.

Anyway, daft journalists aside, Shawcross has built this amazing pair of machines which operate very slowly inside an old tram tunnel underneath Kingsway in London’s Holborn.  They sound really extroadinary and a very clever feat of engineering and design, the two machines move towards each other and away from each weaving multiple arms and in the process make a rope.  His response to the question what is his work generally about was: “it was about the way we perceive time, as a line or as a cycle.  It was an attempt to understand this invisible entity, which is ubiquitous but also unfathomable. But having returned to that theme, I now want to retreat from it as a raison d’etre. I have made a rope machine. The reasons why don’t matter.”

conrad-shawcross-001 I am not sure whether I think of time as ravelling or unravelling, in other words opening up.  but the idea of weaving time is one from mythology.


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