Invisible Threads

 ‘Invisible Threads’ is a meditation on Ariadne’s gift to Theseus before entering the labyrinth. This work instead uses a lodestone, a naturally occurring magnet, as a compass which dangles by a thread indicating North which is made visible by a painted bullseye on the rock. I explore the phenomena of magnetism in my sculptures, one of the four fundamental forces of physics, as it invisibly weaves in and out of our daily lives without us noticing it. 

This sculpture explores the idea of navigating the dark recesses of the mind and takes the shape of a signalman’s railway lantern, used historically both as a torch and a signal to approaching trains indicating whether it was safe to stop or proceed with the journey. Here a light is built into the base of the signalman’s lantern illuminating the compass rose and Lodestone which hovers above as it aligns with the earth’s magnetic field. This force generated from within the earth is summoned to make the dark labyrinth navigable for the mythical character, Theseus. 

There is another theme also being explored here which is humanity’s relationship with the natural world. I have studied magneto-reception for a number of years, it has recently been proven that all animals studied in controlled environments have shown to have a perception or sense of the earth’s magnetic field. This shouldn’t be that surprising given that many species migrate north and south with the seasons in order to survive. However, in humans it was proven in 2019 that we don’t have this ability to detect the earth’s magnetic field, we have literally and metaphorically lost our sense of direction. 

This seems to me, to chime with the use of Theseus’s thread to find a bovine beast in a labyrinth and kill it, drawing parallels with the current extinction of the animal kingdom by a million cuts. 

Lodestone hanging by a thread with a bullseye marking magnetic north and a compass rose below. The four sides of the lantern has iron filings fused into the grey glass. Domed glass inserts, one red, one green, two clear to enable a view of the compass within. A light source illuminates from below.