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A piece of driftwood hangs from the ceiling by a centrally affixed steel wire. The wooden beam is circled by metal pins of varying lengths, holding small cylindrical magnets. The pins, made from brass, reference nautical instruments and describe a spiralic movement in opposite directions, reminiscent of a double helix. As they circle the driftwood core, the magnets are more densely arranged towards the centre of the work than towards the ends of the beam. The positioning of the pins as well as their length was calculated in close relation to the Fibonacci numbers, or golden spiral. In addition to 34 visible magnets, two further magnets are inserted into the beam at either end – resulting in a total of 36, representing the 360° of a full circle. However, looking at the work from its short end, the viewer sees an ovoid rather than the expected circle, an effect created by the positioning of the pins. Only by knowing about the magnets, the visitor will recognise the work for what it is: a compass. Despite the size of the driftwood, the clustered magnets align the work along the north-south axis. Eliasson’s compass is indicative of his continued examination of orientation tools and mapping spaces.


Driftwood, stainless steel, magnets