Deus Ex Machina
(2014 – 2015)
steel, retroreflective glass beads, stairlifts, custom electronics
450 x 300 x 300 cm
A freestanding kinetic sculpture made from two reclaimed electric stairlifts, customised to run continuously in a dissonant sequence up and down two spiral tracks supported on a fabricated frame.
Originally made for my 2014 degree show in Glasgow, this sculpture is the culmination of 3 years of development, 12 months of research and 3 months of fabrication. It was initially intended for exhibition in the Mackintosh Museum gallery in the heart of the Glasgow School of Art Mackintosh Building.
On May 23rd 2014, just four hours before the deadline for the installation of our degree show (and thereby the end of four years of study) a devastating fire tore through the building. A significant portion of the west wing, the superlative and iconic Mackintosh Library, and the 2014 Fine Art degree show were destroyed. Some students lost all their work, while others, such as me, were returned their work with varying degrees of smoke or fire damage.
Deus Ex Machina survived the fire, but not unscathed. The upright sections of the frame were coated in tiny glass beads, and these were tarnished by smoke and damaged during dismantling, transportation and storage as the work was removed from the Mackintosh by staff volunteers in the days after the fire.
After wrestling with the emotional impact of the fire, in February 2015 I began the process of repairing and restoring Deus Ex Machina to its former pristine state. The work was debuted at the Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries 2015, in Edinburgh.