A weathered piece of driftwood, harvested from the Icelandic coast, hangs from the ceiling. One end of the log has been planed down to a sharp angle, and the exposed wood painted with a design based on the figure of a compass rose, a star shape that is typically found on maps and nautical charts to indicate the cardinal directions. The other end has been planed along the perpendicular axis to create a point. A magnetic rod suspended from the driftwood orients the log along the north–south axis, transforming the artwork into a functioning compass.
Eliasson’s interest in compasses springs from the way that the instrument, by allowing us to situate ourselves in relation to a map or a grid, enables us to see ourselves within a larger context. The particular visual sensation of the compass is something we all share. The instruments orient us not only geographically and topographically, but also socially, connecting us to one another by way of a common point of orientation.
|Climate justice navigator
|Driftwood, paint (black, white, blue), magnets, brass, steel, wire