Africa Control, 2015
Created for the Traffic Control Centre East (, Africa Control comprises a relief, a floor and a mobile. Inspired by the function of the building and its circular architecture, the artwork addresses issues such as movement, time, repetition, rotation, irregularity and regularity. It also takes observers on a journey to Africa in order to introduce a dream of being somewhere else; an exotic element that can send the mind travelling.
Africa Control Mask hangs on the external wall by the entrance of the building. The figure itself is an appropriation of a ceremonial mask of the kind made by the Grebo people on the Ivory Coast, but it was also chosen for its robot-like qualities. Placed on the traffic centre, it acts as a kind of amulet for the building: it checks and controls, but also protects the tower itself.
Red Earth Knight Pattern, a mosaic floor created using hand-made clay brick tiles, incorporates references to African ornaments and European medieval aesthetics. The fired red and blue clay is reminiscent of red African soil while also pointing to the clay deposits found in the Danish underground.
Coco Pendulum hangs in the atrium. It is a genuine Foucault pendulum: the plane of the pendulum’s swing demonstrates the rotation of Earth. The pendulum itself is an oversized coconut. The coconut is made for movement and travel: it hangs suspended from its palm tree as it grows, and when it ripens it falls to the ground with a loud thud. Travelling by sea, coconuts have spread throughout all tropical regions on our planet. These things make the coconut ideally suited as a pendulum: its eagerness to move and travel, and its somewhat forceful relationship with gravity.
Coco Pendulum incorporates an electromechanical drive to compensate for the wind resistance that would otherwise cause it to stop. The pendulum has a long history as an instrument of measurement: In the first century CE Zhang Heng used it as a seis- mometer, and in the seventeenth century Galileo Galilei used it to calculate time. In 1851 Léon Foucault used the pendulum to measure Earth’s rotation. In fact, the pen- dulum not only measures the rotation of the Earth; in principle it can measure Earth’s rotation around the Sun and our solar system’s rotation in the Milky Way. In this way, Coco Pendulum can be said to be inscribing the traffic control centre into the movements of the universe.
Photo: Anders Sune Berg