BIG DIPPER (kinetic installation, 2013)
In his work as a whole, Michael Candy focuses on what he calls “instinctive engineering”. This means using technology, physics and biology to bring social phenomena, ecology, and the growth and scope of technology into perspective. For example, he explores our development as a species and our relationship with the environment and its other inhabitants, or the impact of technology on our societies, in artistic proposals often connected with natural phenomena. Yet again, he creates installations based on the models of home-made bombs used in guerrilla warfare and terrorism, or makes artistic and conceptual digressions into street furniture.
Developed in Kerala, India, with help from local artisans, Big Dipper is a mobile light sculpture based on both biological and mechanical models. Its backbone-like structure consists of a central metal helix with wooden “spines” holding a double lateral row of nine fluorescent tubes. Like the legs of some imaginary animal, the neon lights move like those of a technological, robotic millipede. In it, we can see the twofold symbolic presence of the DNA helix and of light, the bringer of life. The title refers to the asterism in the constellation of the Great Bear, visible from anywhere on Earth. The artist thereby theorises on the cosmic origins of life, where the Big Dipper is taken as the creative cauldron of the earthly universe. The sculpture, suspended in the air, projects light beams onto the surrounding architecture, like an extraterrestrial spaceship imbued with life.
Manuela de Barros
The sculpture from Poland was commissioned by the WRO Art Center to be part of the 2015 Polish Media Art Biennale. Collection WRO Art Center.