The Chariot of Greenwich


Zilberman Gallery, Berlin, 2018

ArtBo Bogotá, 2018

Galeria Casas Riegner, Bogotá, 2013

Bergen Triennial, Co-produced by Bergen Assembly, 2013

A wooden sculpture that recreates the ancient Chinese mechanical compass known as the South-pointing chariot (2,600 BC) spins slowly and constantly on a round surface. The pointer on top of the apparatus points to a pendulum and fights to maintain its direction as the whole mechanism grates and creaks. Small remains accumulate visibly on the surface under the machine.

The original devise that this artwork is based on, attributed to the Yellow Emperor, is said to have the ability to consistently point in the same direction (south) without the use of magnetism or electricity. Centuries later in England, around the period when the Royal Observatory in Greenwich was established as the location of the prime meridian (and centre of the world), the engineer George Lanchester offered his interpretation of this invention. He proposed that the only way this could ever be possible was by the use of what in the west is known as a differential engine. While admittedly overlooking the significance of machines and objects of divination in the East versus industrial logics of the West, Lanchester presented his solution to the engineering conundrum behind the South Pointing Chariot to the China society in 1947.

Photos: Chroma


Arte en la Red, 19-11-2013:

"In his replica of the south-pointing chariot, Pedro Gómez-Egaña exposes the carriage to an extreme situation by making it spin tirelessly...The transformation of the chariot from a symbol of power to a perplexed and disoriented artifact....alludes to hegemonic acts of power as well as their consequences..."

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