‘Community’ at Wycombe Arts

View through ‘Community’ with the artist visible behind

From Saturday 6th April to Sunday 14th April 2019 my installation, Communitywas part of the ‘Time&Place’ exhibition at the Wycombe Arts Centre. The installation took two full days, with a team of four, but was very successful.

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The array was lit with red and green LED spotlights. The shadows cast by these were complimentary, green and red, and worked very well.

Detail of magnetic pendulums with red and green shadows

The whole array was in constant motion, driven by two small electromagnets hidden in the base. The ninety-eight magnetic pendulums repelled one another as planned and the movement of one was passed through the whole array, except for the two pendulums which held no magnets.

I chose two asymetrically placed ’empty’ pendulums to be part of the community. Whether these are independent souls, who choose not to be part of the whole, or whether they are excluded or for some reason incapable of involvement I leave to the viewers interpretation. Their number could be significant. One viewer asked if they were lovers, frozen in the moment while all around them the world carries on. I liked this reading of the piece.

While the spheres at the end of the pendulums were the focus of my sculpture, the long acrylic rods by which they were suspended proved equally attractive. They had shown that they were very optically active when I showed a smaller array in Bridlington. Here the number of rods and the sympathetic lighting combined to give an effect which caught people’s eye as soon as they entered the exhibition.


The best part of the whole exhibition for me, however, was the conversation with the viewers. I had numerous long discussions with people and they were universally positive. Many people thought the pendulums motion mesmeric and deeply calming. There was a journey towards the piece, with first impressions of scale and optical effects and slow appreciation of the sensual, kinetic movement of the pendulums as people approached. When people moved onto the stage then the slow, random oscillation of the spheres took the viewers attention. Some people just stood and watched for several minutes. At one point I put a sofa next to the array so that people could sit down and relax as they watched the array.


You really need to be there to fully get the complete effect but this video gives a sense of the experience. Hopefully I will have the chance to show ‘Community’ again soon. Many people said they hoped it would get a wider exposure. I will work hard to make this happen.

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