Shifting Axis is an alteration of the Foucault Pendulum, named for the French physicist Léon Foucault, who first used it in 1851 to demonstrate the rotation of the earth on its axis. It was the first satisfactory demonstration of the earth’s rotation using laboratory apparatus rather than astronomical observations.
The installation consists of a steel pendulum and a circle with fine white sand. The traces made by the trajectory of the pendulum are partly created by the rotation of the earth and partly by the manipulation of a hidden mechanical system constantly influencing the course of the pendulum into an unpredictable movement.
The mesmerizing movement, suggesting a spinning earth out of balance, is creating a constantly changing pattern in the sand. The movement of the steel pendulum in the sand creates a captivating sound that enhances the almost hypnotic effects on its viewers.
Installed with a min. 10 meters high ceiling, a boarded fine white sand circle, and a complex system of computer regulated mechanics.
Commissioned for Global Imaginations, Museum De Lakenhal with the Leiden University, National Museum of World Cultures and Leiden Global. De Meelfabriek, Leiden, NL (2015)
Technical installation realised by: Lukas Pol
Technical advisors: Lam Moreels, Frans van den Dungen