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The Lost Language of Cranes, 2017. Model tower crane, electronics
”How wondrous, how grand those cranes must have seemed to Michel, compared to the small and clumsy creatures who surrounded him. For each, in his own way, she believed, finds what it is he must love, and loves it; the window becomes a mirror; whatever it is that we love, that is who we are.”
The Lost Language of Cranes. 1986 – David Leavitt
Inspired by the story of a young child who was isolated for months in an urban high rise flat, the view from which was dominated by tower cranes. The child, deprived of human company, does not learn to speak but instead develops a complex physical language based on the slow, balletic movement of the cranes, allowing him to communicate to the world outside the window. The work explores this outcome of isolation through a conversation of scale, viewed through a window. A model crane placed on the exterior windowsill appears distant. Its gentle tapping on the window reveals its proximity and size, the dialogue of scale (the tiny child and the huge distant cranes) is reversed as the toy crane left outside at night asks to come in. The red LED light a reference to the retro fitting of tower cranes with aircraft warning lights which has transformed the skyline of cities at night.
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