Jacobs Ladders suspended from the ceiling cascade down their strings, in response to peoples movement in the gallery. The ancient toy ladders are controlled by sensor activated electronics, and the blocks of wood are hand-painted with colours picked from local addresses.
This installation draws together ideas from centuries of work, industry and invention. The Jacob’s Ladder is an old folk toy, whose name comes from the biblical ladder to heaven. The toy ladders are reappropriated, controlled by the new technological electronics available in the world today. The clitter-clatter of these cascading paint samples and the whir of the servos give a sonic layer which harks to both old and new manufacturing techniques.
Colours for the paints are first chosen by sourcing the colours from local street addresses. The paint samples are then painted and laser cut and etched. Ribbons are laser cut from fabric, and are used to painstakingly weave the ladders by hand. The ladders are mounted into groups onto wooden planks and rods which are turned by servo motors on 3D printed mounts. Motion detectors on the ladders sense people’s movement in the gallery. When there is no movement detected, the sensors send data to the arduino hardware/software unit, which then instructs servo motors to turn the ladders into motion. Motion detectors/servos are placed in different positions in the room so that groups of ladders act independently from one another.
The work consists of numerous lengths, with 5 - 6 ladders on each length. Each time this work is exhibited, we fabricate more lengths, with the colour palette sourced from local street addresses; Threadneedle st, Aerodrome Rd, Water Walk, etc. The work grows a visible history while also being locally relevant to each gallery and community.
18th - 29th October 2016
Greymouth, New Zealand.