British artist Mat Collishaw unveils kinetic sculpture at Expo 2020 Dubai

New artwork revealed at Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai shows dance in nature. As a giant lotus flower spins, it is put into orbit by insects that flit, feed and pollinate, displaying ecological harmony.

At its heart, the kinetic sculpture titled Equinox is an optical illusion, made using zoetrope technology, a pre-film animation technique developed in the 17th century.

As Equinox is animated – the flower spins on an axis and the petals act as “shutters” to give the appearance of movement to the insects – a selection of poems by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and ruler of Dubai, and English poet William Blake will accompany the play.

Created by British artist Mat Collishaw and curated by cultural agency Futurecity, the work was commissioned by Expo 2020 Dubai specifically to be shown in Terra.

Measuring five meters high and three meters wide, the zoetrope opens and closes by hydraulic action. Sitting on a base plate which serves as its stem, the flower can also be raised and lowered by hydraulics.

During the day, the flower will be in the closed position, with the insect models inside fluttering between the petals printed in 3D thanks to the animation. In the evening, the surrounding lights will be dimmed and the work will function as a strobe zoetrope.

According to the artist, the sculpture contemplates the natural ecosystems of the Earth and aims to rekindle the relationship of Expo visitors with the natural world.

“My work is about a topic that involves engagement with how we humans navigate the world and the choices we make. Terra’s theme of sustainability provided a context, literally and metaphorically, for an experience that invites contemplation and reflection on the precarious nature of Earth’s ecosystem, ”said Collishaw.

He also noted how the sculpture uniquely responds to the architecture of Terra. Designed by Grimshaw Architects, the pavilion features a 130-meter-wide oval building at its center, surrounded by sprouting solar panels.

Equinox has been placed in Terra’s inner core and features a 360-degree glass viewing balcony with a central opening that viewers can view through a shallow water tank where the artwork is located.

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“Grimshaw’s architecture in the inner core, with its circular geometry, water reservoir and skylight, frames the artwork in an exhilarating way, and I hope it inspires people to want protect their environment, ”said Collishaw.

Equinox will be presented at Expo 2020 Dubai, which will open to the public on Friday, October 1.

More information is available at expo2020dubai.com

Update: September 21, 2021 11:32 a.m.


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